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Maine Democrats Want to Stop Welfare Use for Alcohol, Tattoos

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Maine Democrats say a battery of changes to the state's welfare system would prevent recipients from spending welfare money on alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets and tattoos.

House Speaker Mark Eves, a North Berwick Democrat, says the party is responding to Mainers who say the system is "broken."

The Democrats' proposal would also convert $5 million in cash benefits that are available to welfare recipients into direct payments to landlords. They also want to create a Citizen Oversight Board to oversee welfare programs.

Some of the proposals are similar to those touted by Republican lawmakers and Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The Portland Press Herald reports Republican leaders in the Legislature agree the welfare system needs to be fixed. But they also say Democrats are playing politics during an election year. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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