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.
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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.