Senate committee kills bill that would help ex-drug offenders get back to work

virginia general assemblyThis morning, the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee failed to report a bill that would have expanded eligibility requirements for recipients of benefits for those convicted of drug-related felonies. Senator Barbara Favola’s (D-Arlington) SB830 failed on an 8-7, party-line vote.
Said Senator Favola, “My bill would have helped those who have fallen and who are now striving to get back up again. For those overcoming drug-related felony convictions, what we see time and time again is that access to social safety net programs not only helps to prevent recidivism, it is also an essential ingredient when it comes to reintegration. These people want to turn their lives around and get back to work, and we have the power to help them do that. I am disappointed that my Republican colleagues don’t see it that way.”
Said Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton), “These benefits are an essential safety net for ex-offenders as they reintegrate back into their communities and search for employment. As we all know, just finding a job is challenging for ex-offenders because of the barriers that they face there. These are people who have paid their debt to society – if we are truly committed to public safety, and to preventing recidivism, we must tear down some of these barriers. We need to get people back to work, and erecting these types of barriers is not the way to accomplish that.”
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