More States Requiring Drug Tests for Public Aid Applicants, Recipients


Oklahoma and Tennessee are the latest states requiring drug tests of those applying for welfare benefits. While such proposals are popular in statehouses this year, their legality is still unclear, reports Stateline. “Hard working taxpayers shouldn't be asked to subsidize drug abuse, and this bill will help to ensure they are not,” said Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin yesterday, signing her state’s law.

Lawmakers in at least 28 states this year have proposed drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients, says the National Conference of State Legislature. So far this year, Utah has passed legislation requiring applicants to complete a written questionnaire screening for drug use while Georgia passed legislation requiring drug tests for all applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly known as welfare. Florida passed the most extensive U.S. welfare drug testing law that included requiring applicants to pay for the test themselves and get reimbursed if they test negative. The law was in effect for four months before it was challenged and it's now working its way through the courts.

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