Maine House deals blow to LePage welfare bills

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Maine's Democratic-led House has given initial approval to scaled-back versions and to some of Gov. Paul LePage's welfare overhaul bills while outright rejecting others.

The House endorsed a bill Thursday to ban the use of electronic benefit cards at smoke shops on Thursday. LePage had wanted to bar the use of the cards to purchase things like alcohol and cigarettes.

The governor also proposed to ban the use of electronic benefit transfer cards outside of Maine. The House approved an amended version that directs the state to investigate and prosecute the out-of-state use of EBT cards.

The House nixed the governor's measure to require welfare applicants to show they've applied to three jobs before receiving benefits and another that eliminates some exceptions to participation in work-search programs.


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