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Fingerprints For Food Pilot Program Launches In Mass

(Eric Scheiner)  The latest legislative effort in Massachusetts to try and combat welfare fraud is fingerprinting.

Some lawmakers estimate it could save millions.

Western Mass News spoke with Bay State residents that agree that those who cheat the state assistance programs are ruining it for the ones who really need the help.

“A lot of people need it and some people take advantage. I think fingerprinting and drug testing too, anything they can do to get those people out who abuse the system,” Evelyn Valley told WGGB.

Mass. House Minority Leader Brad Jones is offering a possible solution by using fingerprinting.

House lawmakers voted to study the use of fingerprints and other biometric identifiers as part of a pilot project during a budget debate this May.

Democratic State Representative Jose Tosado, tells Western Mass News the move would punish those who really need help.

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In a statement Tosado said, “Mandatory fingerprinting criminalizes the poor and the hungry, creating deep stigmas that follow individuals trying to get by and want to become productive members of the Commonwealth. There are also concerns with storing and using data against individuals who would otherwise have no reason to have their fingerprints or other physical indicators on file. The risks far outweigh the benefits in the long-term.”

No final decision will be made until the Senate and House negotiates a budget compromise, hold a vote, then send it on to the governor for approval.