– The House today approved legislation authored by Rep. Justin Walsh (R-Westmoreland) that would amend the Human Services Code to prohibit the purchase of tobacco products using public assistance funds on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.
“Public assistance money should pay for the essentials of life, not luxury items,” Walsh said. “It is important to remember that these funds come from the taxpayers and should be used judiciously. Tobacco products are not necessary for survival.”
House Bill 847
would forbid the use of EBT cards, issued by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to administer public assistance benefits, to purchase tobacco or tobacco-related products. Personal funds on EBT cards, such as child support which is in arrears, would be exempt. The Human Services Code already prohibits the purchase of liquor and alcohol with EBT cards.
The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
The 58th Legislative District in Westmoreland County includes Jeannette and Monessen cities, as well as East Huntingdon (part), Hempfield (part), Rostraver, Sewickley and South Huntingdon townships. Also, the district encompasses the boroughs of Adamsburg, Arona, Madison, Mount Pleasant, North Belle Vernon, Penn, Smithton, Sutersville and West Newton.
Representative Justin Walsh
58th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick