Lawmakers in Lansing are looking to ban the use of Bridge Cards at ATMs in strip clubs and liquor-convenience stores but customers at local party stores are pushing back, saying it's unfair.
Brothers Food Center on Saginaw Street doubles as a liquor and convenience store.
â??I sell liquor but mostly it's groceries, bread, I mean everything,â?? says Ramzi Farrah, who has owned the store for 22 years.
Farrah says his customers use the E.B.T. A.T.M. to buy groceries and pay bills.
â??If we can't give them money through E.B.T. then that's a big problem for everybody in this neighborhood,â?? adds Farrah.
â??The party stores as you call them, is making it convenient for us because they (sic) putting beans and different foods that you can buy at Castleâ??s in the grocery store,â?? says Tracy Carter who uses EBT.
â??I think this is extremely important to make sure the money goes to the appropriate place,â?? says state Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge). â??Bridge cards are meant to feed hungry families,â?? he adds.
Customers at Paradise Party Store on Pasadena Avenue agree, banning Bridge Card A.T.M. use at strip clubs is a no brainer.
â??Strip clubs and casinos, I would say yes. There's no reason why E.B.T. should be allowed in a casino or strip club,â?? says Schantika Lewis, who uses E.B.T. at Paradise.
But when it comes to local party stores, customers hope lawmakers reconsider.
â??It hurts everyone,â?? says Lewis.
â??Whoâ??s going to help the little people?â?? adds Carter.
â??Put themselves in the shoes of the people who live in this neighborhood,â?? says Farrah.
The bill has passed the Michigan state Senate and is now headed to the state House of Representatives.