A Democratic lawmaker has introduced legislation that would force Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine to abide by the same rules that he hopes to require of welfare recipients.
Experts believe that the bill is unlikely to pass, but if it became law, it would prevent LePage from using his government expense account to pay for things such as alcohol, lottery tickets, tattoos, bail, lap dances, and souvenirs from Disney World, the same restrictions that people receiving SNAP assistance may soon have to face, reports Raw Story.
The governor is known for coming down hard on welfare recipients and has previously supported laws restricting households from receiving SNAP benefits when they own certain assets worth more than $5,000 including bank accounts, snowmobiles, boats, motorcycles, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles, and campers, the Huffington Post reports.
Spokeswoman Ann Kim for the House Democrats told WMTW that Rep. Scott Hamann, who has led the fight to enact this law, has no reason to believe that LePage is currently using his expense account for those purchases; however Hamann introduced the bill "to increase transparency around the use of taxpayer dollars." He will likely not spend too much time working to pass it, so at this time, it is largely a symbolic move.
"Given the hurdle second session bills must clear, Rep. Hamann is focusing his efforts on his Meals on Wheels proposal and his bill to prevent opioid overdose among children and elders," Kim said.
Republicans pointed out that earlier this year, Hamann fought bipartisan efforts to further restrict the way certain Maine welfare recipients use their SNAP money.
“With that said, the governor has no intention on expending funds on such things,” wrote Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for LePage. “Unlike Mr. Hamann, the LePage Administration is working toward real welfare reform, which includes providing more education and workforce training to Mainers so they are able to acquire career skills to move from dependency to economic independence.”