MARCH 19, 2014

Courts to notify DES of convicted drug violators on TANF

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STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R – Lake Havasu, is sponsoring legislation requiring courts to report convicted drug offenders, if the court has knowledge the person receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

HB 2603 requires the court to send a copy of the judgment, sentence and the opinion, if filed, to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) if the court is aware the person is receiving TANF cash benefits.

“My bill provides the state with a tool to motivate drug addicts receiving TANF to seek help,” Borrelli said. “I would rather see drug offenders rehabilitated than incarcerated.”

The money from DES is supposed to support the defendant’s family, not the defendant’s drug addiction, added Rep. Borrelli. “The federal food stamp program, SNAP, bans convicted felons from its program.”

Arizona courts currently report convicted drug offenders to the board that licenses a defendant’s professional practice or business. Rep. Borrelli’s bill expands the statute to require courts to notify DES, if they are aware that the defendant is receiving TANF benefits and the defendant has been convicted.

HB 2603 has passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 35 Ayes, 23 Nays and two absent, and is assigned to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

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