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Variations on an Unconstitutional Theme

Restrictions on Interstate Use of Cash Benefits

By Deborah Harris & Julia Schlozman

Stories about “welfare money” being used out of state for frivolous purposes have prompted legislators in some states to propose laws that would restrict access to and spending of cash benefits to a recipient’s home state. Minnesota passed such a restriction in 2012. Prohibitions or restrictions on out-of-state access to or spending of cash benefits are constitutionally flawed because they interfere with interstate commerce and unreasonably burden the right to travel.

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