Lawmakers Want To Ban Bridge Card ATM Use In Strip Clubs, Liquor Stores

Posted at 6:45 PM, Sep 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-27 19:15:11-04

Should the state ban the use of Bridge Cards at ATM’s inside of liquor stores and strip bars?

Two state lawmakers say yes they should.

Those who use the Bridge Card as a lifeline in tough times say it provides much needed assistance.

“it`s quicker and faster,” said Mary Watkins, a Bridge Card recipient.

Watkins says the Bridge Card has been a valuable tool in providing food, diapers and other items for her son.

She has withdrawn money from what she considers a liquor-convenience store for some of those items, but never a strip bar.

“I would accept that I need to go to the liquor store to withdraw money to get gas or get personal stuff like that, then I`ll do that, but no strip bars,” said Watkins.

Those are the two businesses that West Michigan Republican State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker said she’s trying to ban Bridge Card cash withdrawls from.

She said the legislature just put an end to Bridge Card ATM use at casinos last year after discovering fraud there.

“It was reported that $87,000 in one month was reported at the Detroit motor city casino that`s not what we want,” said Schuitmaker.

Now, she says the same thing needs to be done at liquor stores and strip bars.

“Bridge cards are supposed to be there for children and families that are in need and not to be spent at gentlemen`s clubs liquor stores,” said Schuitmaker.

The Executive Director at Degage Ministries agrees with Schuitmaker on that ban, but is concerned about lawmakers that are considering other bills to increase the other requirements that will make it more difficult for people to get assistance.

“It`s challenging enough and I know there have been a lot of benefits that have been cut,” said Marge Palmerlee, Executive Director of Degage.

Watkins also understands why there would be a ban on withdrawing cash from a strip club, but as far as a liquor store ATM ban, she disagrees.

She says in some neighborhoods, there aren’t a lot of options.

“I feel like that`s wrong because it`s really hard, because some people don`t have cars. Or people just like me, I`m walking, using the bus stuff like that,” said Watkins. “I feel like that would be wrong because it`s kind of hard for us people to manage to go places and we don`t have reliable transportation to go to. But, we`re on feet. So, we have to do what we have to do.”

“I think there`s other places that they can do that. A liquor store is defined as anything that sells 50% or more on liquor. So, it`s not your convenience store,” said Schuitmaker.