Bill filed to give lottery winnings of public assistance recipients to DHS | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bill filed to give lottery winnings of public assistance recipients to DHS

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 3:39 PM

A bill filed today by Rep. John Payton (R-Wilburn) would require the state to seize lottery winnings from individuals who have received public assistance from the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Under Payton's House Bill 1825,  a winning lottery ticket over $500 held by a "person who is receiving public assistance at the time of purchasing [the] ticket" would be subject to garnishment in the amount that "the person has received in public assistance benefits" for the previous ten years.

The legislation styles this as a "reimbursement" to DHS. The Office of the Arkansas Lottery would be required to check with the agency before distributing any lottery proceeds.

UPDATE: Since HB 1825 would attempt to claw back funds spent by the state to assist citizens, it seems relevant to point out Rep. Payton's salary is also paid from public funds. He earned $104,836 in salary from 2013 (when he first took office) to 2016, plus another $71,773 in per diem, mileage and other expenses during those years.

That means Arkansas taxpayers have spent at least $176,609 on John Payton over the past four years, not counting salary and expenses so far in 2017.

When not at the legislature, Payton works as an auctioneer and car dealer in Heber Springs.

The figures above were tallied from annual reports on legislative per diem and expenses compiled by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. State representatives earned $15,869 in 2013 and 2014, then received a pay boost thanks to the passage of a constitutional amendment in 2014. Salaries then rose to $33,698 in 2015, then $39,400 in 2016 and beyond.

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