Bill to drug test Indiana welfare recipients advances

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A legislative committee is backing a proposal to require drug testing for some Indiana welfare recipients despite complaints that it's unfair to the state's neediest residents.

See the full text of the bill here 

The state Senate Health Committee voted 9-3 Wednesday in favor of requiring all applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to complete a written screening test for possible drug abuse problems.

The bill approved by the House would require those later failing a drug test to enter a treatment program to keep receiving benefit payments. The Senate committee changed the bill to allow those on treatment waiting lists to remain eligible for benefits.

Government assistance recipients would take a written test first. If the test indicated likely drug use, they could be chosen for a monthly random drug test.

Testing supporters say it's aimed at helping those with drug problems and protecting children. Some faulted the proposal for not providing money for additional treatment programs.

Testing would cost the state a half-million dollars - money that some say the state can't afford. Supporters say overall, the state would save $1.5 million in aid they would withhold from drug users.

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