Don’t Block Welfare Benefits for Drug-Related Offenders

Target: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

Goal: Don’t enact lifetime ban on welfare benefits for people convicted of selling drugs.

People who have been convicted of selling drugs in the past will be barred from receiving welfare benefits for their entire lives, if a proposal being considered in the state of Pennsylvania becomes law. This is unfair and will disproportionately affect minorities. Demand that this misguided proposal never become law.

The bill in question would specifically target people in Pennsylvania who have been convicted of felony drug distribution, and would bar them from access to welfare services in the state for life. The creator of the bill, Representative Mike Regan, said that he’s “not trying to be hardhearted… [just] trying to preserve the funds that are not infinite for those that are truly in need.”

Needless to say, the proposal has garnered widespread criticism for its absurd severity. The state already requires that all who have been convicted of felony drug crimes pass a drug test before receiving welfare benefits, so there is no need for this other level of gratuitously-cruel gatekeeping that does nothing but treat people who have had to sell drugs to survive as less than human.

Despite these issues, Republicans control the state’s legislature, making the proposal’s passage virtually inevitable. Sign the petition below to demand that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf veto it when it arrives on his desk so that it can never actually become law.


Dear Governor Wolf,

I am writing you today regarding House Bill 222, a piece of legislation that you will unfortunately probably see arrive in your office in the near future. This is a profoundly misguided proposal that you should veto without a second thought.

What this bill would do is ban people in your state who have been convicted of a felony drug distribution crime from ever again receiving welfare benefits in the state. I hope you will agree that this is extremely unfair to these people. Countless societal factors go into someone’s decision to sell drugs—things like institutional racism, economic inequality, etc. Laying the blame entirely on the convicted person’s shoulders is disingenuous and unfair.

Beyond that, however, House Bill 222 is entirely redundant. Your state already requires that everyone seeking welfare who has been convicted of drug felonies pass a drug test before receiving any benefits. Considering that, there is no need to put even more restrictions on such access.

House Bill 222 is unfair and unnecessary—there is no legitimate reason that it should become the law of your state. I demand that you veto it at once when it arrives on your desk so that it can never be used to hurt Pennsylvanians.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: A Syn

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