Bill would bar withdrawals of state benefits at strip-club ATMs

DENVER — Coloradans who receive state benefits won’t be able to access them at strip clubs under a bill approved in a House committee Thursday.

Currently, residents who receive benefits get them through state-issued debit cards, which can be used like a regular credit or ATM card.

The law already bars them from using those cards at automated teller machines at casinos, in-state simulcast facilities, racetracks, commercial bingo halls, gun stores or liquor stores.

Now freshman Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, wants to add strip clubs to that list.

“This law has been on the books for 13 years and is a recognition that these funds should be used for food, clothing, rent, the basic necessities of life,” Pabon told the House Health & Environment Committee, which approved it on a 12–1 vote. “If there are these bad apples or wrongdoers who are going to do this regardless of whether this legislation is in place, unfortunately there is nothing we can do about that. This is one step in the right direction to make sure we’re the best stewards of our taxpayer dollars.”

Bridget Kaminetsky, Colorado coordinator for the National Association of Working Women, said the bill addresses a nonexistent problem.

“Some neighborhoods don’t have access to banks or grocery stores,” she told the committee. “Many people receiving this assistance don’t have cars. The nearest ATM to draw money from may be at a strip club or liquor store. The closest ATMs to my house are in several bars, liquor stores and adult-entertainment stores. To go someplace else would be to go out of my way.”

The measure heads to the full House for more debate.


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