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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 FosterLawmakers grill NSA on years-old breach in the wake of massive Russian hack Hillicon Valley: WhatsApp delays controversial privacy update | Amazon hit with antitrust lawsuit alleging e-book price fixing | Biden launches new Twitter account ahead of inauguration Illinois Democrat calls for new committee focused exclusively on information technology 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.”

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

Foster said the Second Chance for Students Act — co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreLawmakers urge IRS to boost outreach about tax credits for low-income Americans McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis House approves rules package for new Congress MORE (Wis.), Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonNAACP, Rep. Bennie Thompson sue Trump, Giuliani over Capitol riot House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump Five things to watch during Electoral College battle MORE (Ga.) and Seth MoultonSeth MoultonLawmakers want Pentagon, DOJ to punish current, former military members who participated in riot House chairman endorses Michele Flournoy for Biden's Pentagon chief Trump critic: I am not afraid of Trump MORE (Mass.), and Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden returns to Obama-era greenhouse gas calculation | House passes major public lands package | Biden administration won't defend Trump-era relaxation of bird protections The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Harris visits DC pharmacy to promote vaccine program 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.”