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Lawmaker Won’t Give Up On Drug Tests For Welfare Recipients

jud mcmillin

Photo: Indiana House of Representatives

Rep. Jud McMillin sits on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives.

A Republican state lawmaker says legislation requiring drug testing of some welfare recipients will make a comeback in 2014 after it failed to pass the last two years.

A bill authored by Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) would have required drug testing for welfare recipients who, through a written test, show a likelihood of addiction. Those who tested positive for drugs would then either go through a treatment program or risk losing their benefits.

The legislation stalled on the final day of session after extensive negotiations between the House and Senate. McMillin say the issue in question was whether children of welfare recipients who lose their benefits should still be able to receive the money through a third party.

“If they have said, ‘I’m not going into treatment, I’m not getting myself cleaned up but I’m going to pick somebody else to get the money and then you can give it to me for my kids,’ the money’s probably not going to get to the kids anyway,” he says.

The bill did make greater progress this session after failing to even reach the Senate floor in 2012.  McMillin says he will push for it again next year and would like to eventually see the issue go farther, such as drug testing those receiving unemployment benefits.

“To make sure that those people who are seeking employment are going to be clean while they are out there seeking it makes a lot of sense, so that they are really ready and available to accept a job if one is offered to them,” he says.

McMillin says his drug testing welfare recipients bill changed significantly from its first year to its second and plans to refine the legislation even more leading up to 2014.

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