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Welfare Drug Testing Bill Advances Despite Controversy

Spencer Platt, Getty-Images

A controversial piece of Indiana legislation that would make it mandatory for welfare recipients to submit to random drug tests, as well as limit food stamps funds for only nutritional items is advancing to the state Senate, despite concerns over violation of human rights and overall cost.

The proposal would require those receiving “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” benefits to provide administrators with information regarding past and present substance abuse. Any welfare recipients that indicate the potential for addiction would be required to submit to and pass a drug screen in order to be approved for or maintain benefits.

In addition, the measure would place restrictions on what types of items could be purchased through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bill’s co-sponsor, Representative Jud McMillin says food stamp recipients would no longer be able to use benefits to buy things like candy, sodas and other sugary beverages.

States attempting to implement similar measures have duked it out in courtrooms because opposing forces have voiced concerns over it being a violation of a person’s constitutional right to privacy.

The measure has already been approved by the House.

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