Senate Committee advances bill to help Illinoisans convicted of drug charges rejoin society

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- Illinois could offer financial aid to people struggling with drug charges thanks to a bill moving through the Senate.

The proposal could allow anyone who has been convicted of drug charges access TANF benefits. Republicans raised concerns about the state giving free money to people who have potentially dealt drugs to younger people in their communities.

Sen. Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) argues her plan can help those who need money get back on their feet, rejoining society.

“You also have to work,” said Van Pelt. “You have to have a job. You’re not going to be able to just live off TANF. You have to find employment. So this is a way back, this is a helping hand to help people get back, make it back to full productive members of society.”

Van Pelt also emphasized these are people who deserve a fresh start. She said they spent time in jail and paid the consequences for their actions.

The Senate Health Committee passed the bill on a 9-2 vote. The legislation now heads to the Senate floor for further debate. It passed out of the House on a partisan 67-41 vote last month.

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