Tuesday, June 9, 2015

House Bill 222: Good Intentions but Negative Consequences

MaternalBondPennsylvania's House of Representatives may consider a bill that would amend the Public Welfare Code and reinstate a lifetime ban against accessing public assistance for most people with felony drug convictions. This legislation casts too wide of a net and has unintended consequences.

While House Bill 222 is intended to target large-scale drug traffickers, survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking who have been convicted of drug charges as a result of their abuser's control over them, or those charged with possession with intent to deliver small amounts of drugs, would also be affected.

The benefits that these survivors (and their children) would need in order to break free from the control of their abusers would be denied - including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and food stamps. People currently experiencing domestic abuse most often cite financial instability as the reason for their decision to stay with or return to their abuser. Therefore, for many, public benefits are essential to becoming self-sufficient and feeling safe.

You can take action by sending a message to your Representative now, urging him or her to oppose House Bill 222. You can find your Representative here.

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