Commissioners support EBT photo legislation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2013

SALISBURY — Commissioners voted unanimously to support legislation requiring “food stamp” electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, cards to display a photo of the recipients.
Chairman Jim Sides, and commissioners Craig Pierce, Jon Barber and Mike Caskey supported the resolution at a meeting Monday night. Commissioner Chad Mitchell did not attend the meeting due to a Washington, D.C. trip.
The resolution asks that EBT cardholders have a recent photo of themselves on the card. It also asks that merchants be required to verify the photograph of cardholders.
Barber was the only person to speak on the proposed resolution. The agenda item took less than a minute.
“I think for Rowan County being one of the first out of a 100 (counties) to suggest that some sort of a security feature be put in place is an excellent idea,” Barber said.
Barber said photos would increase security for the program. He acknowledged its similarity to the controversial voter ID proposals, but said the accuracy is necessary.
“I can see where there is the potential for abuse in the system,” Barber said. “This really is the same as voter ID.”
For the second time in less than a month, Rowan commissioners echoed a Gaston County commissioners’ proposal.
Gaston’s elected officials voted to require photos on EBT cards last November.
Earlier this month, Rowan commissioners took a similar line on Gaston’s plan to restrict public access to gun permit information.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.