Photo: Jack Spades (flickr)
Indiana’s welfare recipients could be subject to mandatory drug testing under legislation passed by the House on Monday.
Legislation authored by Brookville Republican Jud McMillan requires all Hoosiers eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, dollars to take a written test that determines if they are likely to abuse drugs.
If the test shows a propensity for addiction, the welfare recipients are placed into a drug-testing pool. Fifty percent of the pool is then actually tested. If a person fails the drug test, they are given the option to go into drug treatment or lose their TANF dollars.
A person opting to go into treatment gets to keep receiving welfare if they have two consecutive clean drug tests within four months. If they do not, they are kicked off the program for three months, after which they can reapply for welfare.
Gary Democrat Charlie Brown says the bill sends a bad message.
“This, to me, is offensive that we are going to single out a group of folk that are already down and trodden,” he says.
And some Democrats complain that drug testing based on the written test is invasive. McMillan says it could be considered that way.
“But I don’t know that that’s any more invasive than people putting hands into other folks’ accounts when it comes to using tax dollars to subsidize drug abuse problems,” he says.
The bill passed the House 78-17 and now moves to the Senate.