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Texas Just One Of Several States To Move Ahead With Legislation To Require Drug Screening To Receive Welfare

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Win McNamee, Getty Images

It’s an idea that’s been talked about for years, and it’s moment might be at hand, at least in six states, the most recent being Texas. Legislation is moving ahead that could radically affect who and who does not receive state aid.

In a bill authored by State Senator Jane Nelson and backed by Texas Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, applicants to the Temporary Assistance To Needy Families program would have to submit to drug screening by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Under the proposed legislation, applicants who test positive for drugs would be ineligible from receiving benefits from TANF for a full 12 months.

In a statement from Texas Governor Rick Perry, “Texas taxpayers will not subsidize or tolerate illegal drug abuse. Every dollar that goes to someone who uses it inappropriately is a dollar that can’t go to a Texan who needs it for housing, child care or medicine.’

This new bill was approved on Tuesday by the state senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, and will go to the Texas House of Representatives if it passes a vote in the full Texas Senate.

The state of Kansas has very similar legislation in progress as well. Utah, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee are not far behind on bills that would require some sort of screening to receive benefits from the state.

Do you think that this infringes on a person’s personal liberties? Would you support a bill like this in the state of Michigan?

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