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Electronic Benefit Transfer Cards

SECTION 53.   Chapter 18 of the General laws, inserted by chapter 84 of the acts of 2011, is hereby amended by striking out sections 5I and 5J and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sections:-

Section 5I. (a) As used in sections 5I and 5J the following terms shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

"Access device", a card, code or other means of access that can be used, alone or in conjunction with another access device, to obtain payments, allotments, benefits, money, goods or other things of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds under the federal Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, 7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq., or regulations issued pursuant to the federal Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.

"Direct cash assistance", any manner of cash assistance provided by the department of transitional assistance including, but not limited to, temporary aid to families with dependent children, wherein the assistance is provided directly to the recipient, rather than a vendor.

"Electronic benefit transfer card", a card that provides benefits through an electronic benefit transfer.

"Electronic benefit transfer transaction", the use of a credit or debit card service, automated teller machine, point-of-sale terminal or access to an online system for the withdrawal of funds or the processing of a payment for merchandise or a service

"Vacation services", furnishing interstate or foreign travel services solely for the purpose of recreation including, but not limited to transportation, lodging and travel agent services; provided, however, that vacation services shall not include travel related to: a personal or family emergency, the death of a family member, employment, medical treatment, appearance before a court of law, court-authorized parental visitation and such other categories of travel which may be designated from time to time by the department as non-recreational travel.

(b) No person shall knowingly use or accept direct cash assistance funds held on electronic benefit transfer cards or access devices for the purchase or sale of the following services or products: alcoholic beverages as defined in section 1 of chapter 138; lottery tickets; tobacco products as defined in section 1 of chapter 64C; visual material or performances intended to create or simulate sexual conduct or sexual excitement as those terms are defined in section 31 of chapter 272; firearms and ammunition as defined in section 121 of chapter 140; vacation services; tattoos or body piercings; jewelry; for gambling as defined in section 2 of chapter 23K or for the payment to the commonwealth of or any political subdivision thereof of any fees, fines, bail or bail bonds ordered by a court.

(c) Any eligible recipient of direct cash assistance who knowingly makes a prohibited purchase in violation of this section shall reimburse the department for such purchase and, for the second offense, shall be disqualified from the direct cash assistance program for a period of 2 months and, for the third offense, shall be disqualified from the direct cash assistance program permanently; provided, however, that the department shall only disqualify an eligible recipient after notice and a hearing pursuant to section 30A.

Section 5J. (a) The department shall maintain policies and practices as necessary to prevent cash assistance provided under this chapter from being used in any electronic benefit transfer transaction at: liquor stores; casinos, gambling casinos or gaming establishments licensed pursuant to chapter 23K; retail establishments which provide adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment, as defined in Section 408(a) of the Social Security Act, as amended; adult bookstores or adult paraphernalia stores, as defined in section 9A of chapter 40A; firearms dealers licensed under section 122 of chapter 140 and ammunitions dealers licensed pursuant to section 122B of chapter 140; tattoo parlors; manicure shops or aesthetic shops registered pursuant to chapter 112; rent-to-own stores; jewelry stores; or on cruise ships. Such establishments shall not accept electronic benefits transfer cards. A store owner who knowingly allows a prohibited electronic benefit transfer transaction in violation of this section or subsection (b) of section 5I shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 for a first offense, by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,500 for a second offense and by a fine of not less than $2,500 for a third or subsequent offense.

(b) A store owner who knowingly violates this section and who also possesses a license to sell alcoholic beverages under section 12 of chapter 138 shall be referred to the appropriate licensing authority for possible disciplinary action pursuant to section 64 of said chapter 138.

(c) A store owner who knowingly violates this section and who also possesses a license to sell lottery tickets under sections 26 and 27 of chapter 10 shall be referred to the director of the state lottery for possible disciplinary action.