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Bill Would Mandate Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients

The bill's author says it is intended to 'help people help themselves,' but opponents call it offensive.

Opium Presumptive Drug Test

Photo: Jack Spades (flickr)

A vile shows the positive results of the number 2 Marquis reagent presumptive drug test when used with a sample of opium.

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.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/AlexanderBeeman Alexander Maurice Beeman

    Because this turned out to be such a success in Florida! Agree with Rep. Brown, this sends a horrible message and purposefully singles out a certain class of people. Why are legislatures not tested for drugs? They receive pecuniary benefits from the government (i.e. salary and per diem).

  • NB

    These folks aren’t “down and trodden”, they are slackers, who seem to me, that work harder to beat the system and not get a real job, and others are just lazy and sit on their cans all day long, and contribute nothing to the economy. They trade food, that taxpayers buy, for beer and cigarettes, and are never held accountable. I have worked with several of them trough a “temp” agency we use at work, and you can tell which ones want to work , and which ones don’t. You ask them to fill out an application for employment, and they never show up again, because we have a strict drug testing policy. This bill is a good start, but it should have a longer period before you are eligible for ANY assistance, after a failed test.

  • James Johnson

    I think the legislators should be drug tested, not legitimately down and out people who aren’t trying to “beat the system”. God hates oppressors of the poor.

  • Pingback: Bill Would Mandate Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients | erecoverator77m

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