Christie makes it easier for ex-drug offenders to get welfare

Work First is New Jersey's updated welfare program following the 1996 federal welfare reform bill. (Image via State of New Jersey)

Work First is New Jersey's updated welfare program following the 1996 federal welfare reform bill. (Image via State of New Jersey)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation that allows people previously convicted of drug offenses to more easily receive Work First (welfare) benefits. 
The law sponsored by Democratic lawmakers changes the state’s rules for giving general assistance benefits to those convicted of drug offenses.
 
Previously, anyone convicted of drug use or possession charges had to complete a licensed inpatient drug treatment program. Under the new law, people can complete an outpatient drug treatment program as well.
 
Christie had conditionally vetoed the measure to remove a requirement that allowed people convicted of drug distribution to be eligible. He signed the updated version on Wednesday.
 
Democratic Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter says the measure will allow ex-offenders to get a second chance.

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