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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmakers: No Food Stamps For Lottery Jackpot Winners

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Oregon lawmakers decided Wednesday to make it less likely for people who win big at the Oregon Lottery to keep getting public assistance.

The Lottery likes to dangle the possibility of winning big bucks in front of its players. But a 2013 state audit found that in one two-year period, hundreds of Oregonians continued to receive food stamps despite winning lottery payouts of $5,000 or more.

Republican Representative Andy Olson said it went up from there.

"There was one person who won more than $900,000,” Olson said. “So we had a little bit of a problem."

This bill wouldn't automatically cut winners off of food stamps. It simply requires the Lottery to report big winners to the Oregon Department of Human Services. That agency could then use the info to determine if the winner is no longer eligible for public assistance.

The measure passed the Oregon House unanimously and now heads to the Oregon Senate for consideration.