Opinion Columns & Blogs

No going to swimming pools, movies on welfare dime


Welfare restrictions that the Legislature approved last week are getting national attention for how they micromanage the lives of poor people. “Kansas families receiving government assistance will no longer be able to use those funds to visit swimming pools, see movies, go gambling or get tattoos on the state’s dime,” the Washington Post reported. The prohibitions include body piercings, massages, spas, tobacco, nail salons, lingerie, arcades, cruise ships, psychics, theme parks and any “sexually oriented business or any retail establishment which provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.” Sen. Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, who championed the bill, said the restrictions are designed to pressure people on welfare to spend “more responsibly.” But Rep. Carolyn Bridges, D-Wichita, said the state is effectively telling poor people, “If you are asking for assistance in this state, you’re sort of less than other people and we’re going to tell you how and where to spend your money.” – Phillip Brownlee