Posts Tagged ‘welfare’

Tri-Cities TV station covers Beacon’s welfare abuse reform efforts

WJHL in the Tri-Cities covers Beacon’s investigation into EBT card abuse and notes the changes in state law that spawned from it.

“It’s really disheartening to see so much of this money going to things like liquor and to strip clubs when it’s designed to provide necessities to children of welfare recipients,” said Justin Owen, President & CEO of Beacon Center of Tennessee.

Watch the entire news report here.

May 9th, 2013 | Recent News

Governor gets bill restricting use of welfare cards covers the passage of a bill that restricts the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer cards by welfare recipients. The online news bureau notes Beacon’s role in initiating the reform effort.

The legislation came after a report was released last summer by the Beacon Center of Tennessee, which documented numerous examples of suspicious card-use by welfare recipients. According to Beacon’s report, EBT cards were swiped at liquor stores, nightclubs, malls, retail outlets, and adult-entertainment establishments, as well as for a hotel stay and UPS services, among others. The free-market think tank reported one transaction at a liquor store totaling $790.

“We applaud Rep. Weaver, Sen. Tracy, Commissioner Hatter, and all those who supported this important effort to restrict the abusive use of EBT cards in our state,” said Beacon Center CEO Justin Owen.

Read the entire article at

April 16th, 2013 | Recent News

Beacon Center and lawmakers team up to curb EBT card abuse

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee House of Representatives on Monday evening overwhelmingly passed legislation to curb welfare abuse. This comes on the heels of a Beacon Center investigation into questionable uses of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards in places such as strip clubs and liquor stores in large cities across the state.

In late 2012, as part of its Tennessee Watchdog project, the Beacon Center published a series of investigative reports detailing purchases totaling thousands of dollars in liquor stores, nightclubs, and similar establishments. Soon thereafter, Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) worked with the Beacon Center to file legislation to fix the issue, with the support of Department of Human Services Commissioner Raquel Hatter and Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.

“We applaud Rep. Weaver, Sen. Tracy, Commissioner Hatter, and all those who supported this important effort to restrict the abusive use of EBT cards in our state,” said Beacon Center CEO Justin Owen.

The bill, SB244/HB119, places the strictest possible limitations on the use of EBT cards and also requires the Department of Human Services to add further restrictions as soon as allowed by federal law. In addition to the consequences for recipients who abuse the program, establishments who accept EBT cards in violation of the law face severe penalties.

The bill previously passed the state Senate unanimously. It now goes to Gov. Bill Haslam, who is expected to sign it into law.

“This legislation will further protect taxpayers and ensure that welfare benefits are used for their intended purpose—to help the children of the families on the program,” concluded Owen.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government. Visit the Center online at



April 15th, 2013 | Recent News