Drug Testing Required in More States For Welfare Recipients
Two more states are about to require welfare recipients to undergo drug testing before they apply for benefits. Tennessee and Oklahoma are the latest two with such proposals. They will join Utah and Georgia, who have both taken on this new measure.
Last year, Florida passed the most extensive welfare testing law for drugs which required them to pay for it themselves and then later would reimburse them if they did test negative. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says taxpayers should not be asked to pay for drug abuse and this bill would ensure that it doesn’t happen in her state.
According to the Boston Herald, lawmakers in 28 states have proposed welfare drug screening or testing this year for all recipients of public assistance. In an attempt to overcome welfare fraud, several states have introduced new ideas such as random drug testing or screening of applicants.
There is still the question of constitutionality with these measures and finding out if the states really save money. The Florida measure was in effect for about four months and then was challenged. It is currently working its way through the court system.
In the four months Florida had been drug testing welfare recipients, they had almost three percent fail the drug test on their applicants for cash assistance.
Tennessee legislation has proposed a suspicion-based screening for possible drug users. There they would have to complete a written test first to determine if they are potential drug suspects.
The ACLU of Tennessee has recommended the governor veto this measure. While these drug testing proposals are quite popular this year in statehouses their legality remains a question.