Texas bill to require drug screening for welfare recipients

NBC News, a new bill was moved forward that, if implemented, will require welfare applicants to submit to drug testing. Senator Jane Nelson authorized the bill which has already been approved by the state senate’s Health and Human Services Committee. If passed by the full senate, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) applicants will be forced to undergo a drug screening process. “Drug abuse destroys families, harms children and prevents individuals from living healthy, independent lives. Because TANF is a direct cash assistance program, we have a responsibility to ensure that these funds are not being used to support a person’s drug habit,” said Senator Nelson. According to NBC, if the bill were enacted applicants who are suspected to be using or have been convicted of previous drug use will be subjected to drug testing. Randy Collins, Orange County drug lawyer, has worked with several drug users and feels that the bill has the potential to be destructive. “Taking initiative to try and decrease drug use by welfare recipients is a concept that we fully support, but we do not agree with Senator Nelson’s course of action. Whether or not a mother and/or father are using drugs, if they are in a position that does not allow their children to receive aid for their basic needs there is a problem. Also, there is little clarification as to what type of drug use will result in the loss of government aid. Will Marijuana use keep families from receiving food and other necessities?” said Collins. One hundred thousand Texans a year are enrolled in TANF, according to Nelson’s office. The bill will go to the Texas House of Representatives if it passes a vote in the full Senate.]]>

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