The Mississippi state Senate passed a bill that will drug test some welfare recipients in order for them to collect benefits. The bill will also require individuals to undergo treatment after a positive test.
Think Progress reported:
Last week, Mississippi’s state Senate passed a bill to drug test some welfare recipients after it passed the House earlier this year. It’s now waiting for a signature from Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who praised its passage. It will take effect July 1.
The law will require applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to answer a questionnaire evaluating their likelihood of substance abuse. If they are deemed to be at risk, they will have to take a drug test, and a positive test result will require them to undergo treatment for substance abuse. A second positive test will keep them out of the program for 90 days, while a third will kick them out for up to a year.
The bill’s lead sponsor estimated that the testing would cost about $36,000 a year, paid for with federal TANF funds.
Bryant says the bill “will help make a positive difference for families impacted by substance abuse.” But experiences from other states have shown that TANF recipients don’t have a higher rate of abuse than the general population, while these programs cost a lot of money to administer.