Bill to drug-test welfare recipients will be back

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A bill that would require some welfare recipients to undergo drug testing is not part of the Indiana House Republican agenda but is likely to pass the House again this year, a key lawmaker said Thursday.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the controversial bill is “one we’re going to enthusiastically endorse and move forward on.”

“We’ve had this battle before and I think the time is right to move forward on that issue,” he said. “And we will see that bill move forward I think.”

Last year, the bill passed the House but not the Senate. It would have required all recipients of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families – the state’s case-assistance welfare program – to take a written test to determine drug-abuse tendencies. Those identified would be pooled together and half of those subjected to a random drug test.

Critics of the bill, including Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, said they see the bill as unfair and, to some, unconstitutional.

“The problem is that we are assuming people using food stamps and TANF are doing drugs, and that’s not true,” said Pryor. “It is not fair to stereotype anyone. My second concern is that it affects kids. If you cut assistance to parents, you harm the kids. I hope they don’t introduce the bill and (instead) focus more on preventative measures.”

Bosma brushed off the bill’s critics, saying the argument about constitutionality is a typical complaint.

“If we didn’t take action because one party or another said it’s not constitutional, we wouldn’t do much around here,” said Bosma.


  • ms
    While I do not get welfare, I think that if you want to drug test those receiving benefits is find as long as the legal welfare people "elected officials" (yes, you are paid with our money)should be tested also.
  • Support
    While I am not on welfare, I do receive disability, and believe all of us receiving government assistance should be subject to this. If we are receiving assistance from hard working taxpayers, whether it be welfare, disability, etc., we have an extra responsibility to follow the rules. It's only fair.
  • One more thing
    I forgot to mention that alcohol and prescription drugs are not dealt with in these laws. Alcohol is the number one abused drug in America. Followed by prescription drugs. The two at the top destroying people and families are BOTH LEGAL.
  • A Republican Ashamed Of Republicans
    I've been a loyal Republican my entire life and I just don't understand the stupidity of so many officials in my Party. I've prided myself on pragmatism trumping partisanship. The entities that have already tried this program (People idealogy-neutral. Some Republicans know how foolish this is) found it to be cost-inefficient. In Florida, the main testing agency has financial dealings with some of the politicians pushing this law. And it cost more to implement than it has saved. I thought Republicans were economic conservatives. I am. I think the GOP is abandoning its principle on this issue. If only 2.6 % test dirty, that's not cost-efficient. Bill O'Reilly said "but the dirty ones don't test." He's wrong. Many stupidly submit to the test anyways or used some remedy to evade it. Even people on parole show up dirty for tests. And what about the ones who test dirty and are forced into rehab. Who's paying for that? The last time I looked, people across the country are waiting 6 months to get a spot in a clinic. They'll open up phony rehabs that push Christianity or something. Warehouses. The ones they already have show only a 5 per cent all-clean rate after one year. Or less. Some rehabs continue to rake in money despite a 2 per cent success rate. There are official standards. Many of these re-habs are nothing but warehouses to keep people who are forced to be there by authorities. Re-hab only works for addicts who truly want to quit.
    • What's Fair?
      If the working class has to take urine tests to determine if they are on drugs, why is it unfair to the welfare class to have to be tested to receive food stamps? Test them randomly and often.
    • It's been tried...
      Yet another hideous piece of useless legislation. This has been tried in other states and was a waste of time and money. See Florida. When will taxpayers get tired of putting money toward defending the lawsuits resulting from the ridiculous legislation the Republican supermajority passes? http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/florida-didnt-save-money-by-drug-testing-welfare-recipients-data-shows/1225721
    • Long Term Solutions
      This is such a simplistic view of welfare. It would be great if decision makers would actually walk in the shoes of people in these needy situations. If they do that, I would have much more respect for their decisions. Rather, they choose to "punish" a few and offer no solutions. If someone does test positive for drugs, what is the next step? Simply deny them benefits? What if that person has children? What does that person do? Steal? Break into houses? Or, are they offering free substance abuse programs for those who test positive? Please, think through decisions before trying to implement such a simplistic and short sighted plan.
    • waste of time
      Few people would be in favor of providing welfare to people in order for them to stay home and use drugs, but one doesn't have to put much thought into this proposal to see how it is wasteful. The government would end up spending more on tests than would be saved by kicking people out of the program. As with employer related drug tests the vast majority of users will keep themselves clean for long enough to pass the initial test knowing full well that they can start using again because follow up tests are few and far between.

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