Capital News Service
A Senate committee has killed a bill that would have made felons with drug-related convictions eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
On a tie vote along party lines, the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee defeated Senate Bill 1238, which had been sponsored by Sen. Patsy Ticer, D-Alexandria.
“I think it’s a very fair bill,” Ticer said before Friday’s vote. “Currently murderers can receive TANF again after they come out of incarceration,” but drug offenders cannot.
“That does not seem equitable to me,” Ticer said.
Virginia opted in to a federal ban on federally funded cash assistance to people convicted of drug-related felonies. Until last year, such felons also were ineligible for food stamps.
Ticer has tried to overturn the ban for the past five legislative sessions, according to the senator’s own estimate.
“It really harms the children,” Ticer said. “They’re the ones who really need the services and need the ability to move on.”
On Friday, the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee took up Ticer’s latest attempt to reverse the ban – Senate Bill 1238.
The panel deadlocked 7-7 on a motion to approve the bill. As a result, the motion failed. All seven Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the motion; all seven Republicans voted against it.