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Drug Testing Recipients of State Assistance

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    NEWSLETTERS

    On Tuesday, Virginia lawmakers pushed forward a bill that would require residents to pass a drug test before they could receive state assistance.

    Now, a state Senator in Maryland is introducing a similar measure.

    Sen. J.B. Jennings, a Republican from Baltimore County, has cosponsored a bill that would make temporary cash assistance recipients submit to drug testing.

    Senate Bill 287 would require "individuals applying for or receiving temporary cash assistance benefits under the Family Investment Program to comply with eligibility requirements related to drug testing; authorizing temporary cash assistance benefits that have been terminated to resume under specified circumstances; requiring an addictions specialist to notify the Family Investment Program case manager if an applicant or a recipient does not complete drug testing."

    Jennings told the Washington Times he's concerned that some recipients of temporary assistance are using state aid on drugs.

    “It’s a program that is there to help those in need for the short term,” he told the Times. “The problem is that people tend to make it a lifestyle.”

    The program would boot people who fail a drug test from assistance programs, and make them seek drug-treatment before they could reapply for help.

    You can read the text of the proposed bill here.

    A bill narrowly approved in Virginia state Senate this week operates on the same premise: participants in the state's Welfare-to-Work program who failed a drug test would be stripped of benefits.

    Senators in Virginia voted along party lines, with Lt.Gov. Bill Bolling casting the deciding vote.  The bill now goes to the House, which already voted down its own version of the bill.