Welfare drug testing bill moves forward in state House

Apr 17, 2013

Lawmakers in Lansing have moved forward a bill to start drug testing welfare recipients. A state House panel today  sent the legislation to the full chamber.

Under the bill, the state would have to have reasonable suspicion before requiring a test. Cash assistance benefits could be terminated for people who test positive.

Republican Representative Jeff Farrington introduced the legislation. He says the government should not pay for people’s drug habits.

“People are tired of applicants getting welfare payments when they’re using for illegal drug use. We want to make sure that they get on the right track, they receive their treatment going forward, and they get on the right path to success.”

The committee made a number of changes to the bill. First time offenders could undergo addiction treatment and still receive benefits during that time.

Supporters also say people would have to pay for the drug test only if they test positive.

Critics of the plan say it demonizes the poor and would unfairly hurt children of addicts.