When I say large amounts I mean thousands and thousands of dollars,” said State Representative Mike Regan (R- Cumberland and York Counties).
A former U.S. Marshall, Representative Regan has arrested plenty of drug dealers. He said it happens too often, people dealing drugs and receiving welfare. “It’s not like it happened occasionally. It was a fairly regular occurrence, guys who were making big money selling drugs and also collecting welfare benefits. I just didn’t think it was right,'” said Regan.
Regan recently introduced legislation that, if enacted, would prevent people convicted of drug distribution crimes from receiving welfare benefits.
"We are dealing with a limited amount of money so you know, people who are receiving welfare benefits who don't truly need them and don't deserve them, are cutting out people who truly are in need," said Regan.
The bill has a number of co-sponsors but not everyone is on board.
"Some people have approached me about amendments. I’m amenable to that, because there is a concern that someone will do their time in prison and then resort back to drug trafficking because they can’t make ends meet," said Regan.
FOX43 Legal Analyst Steven Breit said that should be clarified. "Does that mean once you're punished and rehabilitated you can't receive benefits for the rest of your life? It fails to take into account two components in our sentencing scheme, punishment, rehabilitation," said Breit.
The legislation has been referred to the House Health Committee for consideration. Regan also introduced legislation that would strip non-compliant Megan's Law registrants from their benefits. That legislation passed the House, and is now in the Senate pending approval.