CONCORD, N.H. — Senators have voted to further restrict what New Hampshire welfare recipients can purchase with their cash benefits.

Since 2014, state and federal law have banned people from using their electronic benefit cards to purchase alcohol, lottery tickets or visit gambling and adult entertainment venues.

A state audit in 2013 found 78 percent of benefits are withdrawn as cash rather than by swiping the benefits card.

The Senate on Thursday voted 19-4 to extend the ban to using cash obtained with EBT cards for any of the prohibited items, and adds tattoo and body piercing parlors to the list.

Opponents say it’s unrealistic to ask customers whether the cash they’re using for a banned item came from a benefits card.

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