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Banning Bridge cards in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos ?

Michigan's Bridge Card, which provides food and cash assistance benefits.
Michigan's Bridge Card, which provides food and cash assistance benefits.

Bridge card users could soon be unable to get cash out of ATMs inside strip clubs, some liquor stores, and casinos. 
That's the idea behind a package of bills the state Senate passed today.
Bridge cards are mostly associated with food assistance, but they also let families with kids get temporary cash assistance for things like child care and rent. 

So what happens if you live in a rural or urban area where the only ATM is in a liquor store? 

That's what state Sen. Morris Hood (D-Detroit) says he's worried about. 

"In some areas of my district, these ATM machines that are [in liquor stores] are the only ATM machines that are accessible for miles," he said. "Due to transportation issues -- not having a car, not being able to afford a car -- these ATMs are the only ones folks can get to to get their money out."

There is an exception: the legislation would allow Bridge cards to be used at a liquor store ATM, if  more than half of that store's sales are in food. 

Meanwhile, the federal government is requiring states to enact similar bans by February.

If Michigan fails to do so, the state could lose federal funds that help keep some public assistance programs running. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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