House Democrat offers bill to let students with pot conviction retain federal aid

House Democrat offers bill to let students with pot conviction retain federal aid
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Rep. Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterScientists join Democrats in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule Omar knocks Republicans for appearing to bring phones into highly-classified SCIF room Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year MORE (D-Ill.) introduced a bill Friday aimed at helping people who have been convicted of minor marijuana offenses not lose their access to federal student aid. 

The measure would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow those convicted of possession of marijuana without intent to distribute to retain access to aid for a six-month window while they “complete an approved drug rehabilitation program.”

Under current law, a suspension of federal student aid is automatically triggered after an individual is convicted of a drug offense. 

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Foster said the Second Chance for Students Act — co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreA dozen House Democrats call on EU ambassador to resign amid Ukraine scandal The 13 House Democrats who back Kavanaugh's impeachment On The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes MORE (Wis.), Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonDemocrats approve two articles of impeachment against Trump in Judiciary vote Democrat calls Gaetz the 'pot calling the kettle black' after Hunter Biden drug-use comments Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE (Ga.) and Seth MoultonSeth MoultonOvernight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Pentagon leaders: Trump clemencies won't affect military order and discipline Deval Patrick beefs up campaign staff MORE (Mass.), and Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonBicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Maloney wins vote for Oversight chairwoman MORE (D-D.C.) — was necessary to prevent individuals from derailing their futures “over one mistake.”

“For many students, financial aid can mean the difference between staying in school and dropping out,” Foster said in a statement. 

“This legislation would ensure that students stay in school while they complete the required rehabilitation program. No student should have their future determined by one bad choice.”

Moore argued the current law has a significantly negative impact on minority students, a policy she feels needs to change. 

“Losing financial aid can be devastating and often determines whether one can remain in school,” she said.  

“This policy harms students of color, who are often targeted for low-level offenses like marijuana possession. It’s why I am thrilled to support this bill because a marijuana conviction shouldn’t jeopardize a students’ future or access to educational opportunity.”