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New Version Of Welfare Drug Testing To Be Considered

Hoosiers on food stamps will have less money to spend because of reductions that took effect Nov. 1.

The original welfare drug testing bill would have required all welfare recipients to submit to a pre-screening test that determines a likelihood of addiction. Those showing that likelihood would then be subject to a drug test.

Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, significantly scaled it back with an amendment in the Senate Health Committee. Only welfare recipients with previous drug convictions would be tested under Young’s change, and Young says that reduces the fiscal impact from the original bill, though he’s not sure by how much.

“We haven’t mentioned the offset – if you test negative, you’re not going to get any benefits, so that’s a savings to us,” Young said.

Young says those who fail the tests will also have to pay for the cost of those tests. Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, the bill’s author, says if the measure passes the Senate, he’d like to see more changes made in conference committee.  He says there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism in the bill for determining who needs to be tested.

“There’s nothing that would raise a red flag to FSSA without that self-reporting unless there is some type of mechanism in place,” McMillin said.

Young says he thinks that can be accomplished with background checks.  The bill is available for amendments on the Senate floor Monday.

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