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Politics & Government

Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients Heads to Senate Floor


The Senate sponsor of a bill requiring some welfare recipients to be drug tested says he thinks he’s found the right balance for the measure to pass.

The original welfare drug testing bill would have required all welfare recipients to submit to a pre-screening test that determines a likelihood of addiction. Those showing that likelihood would then be subject to a drug test. 

Indianapolis Republican Senator Michael Young significantly scaled it back with an amendment in the Senate Health Committee.  Only welfare recipients with previous drug convictions would be tested under Young’s change. 

Young says that reduces the fiscal impact from the original bill, though he’s not sure by how much.

“We haven’t mentioned the offset – if you test negative, you’re not going to get any benefits, so that’s a savings to us,” Young said.

Young says those who fail the tests will also have to pay for the cost of those tests.  Brookville Republican Representative Jud McMillin, the bill’s author, says if the measure passes the Senate, he’d like to see more changes made in conference committee.  He says there doesn’t seem to be a mechanism in the bill for determining who needs to be tested.

“There’s nothing that would raise a red flag to FSSA without that self-reporting unless there is some type of mechanism in place,” McMillan said.

Young adds he thinks that can be accomplished with background checks.  The bill is available for amendments on the Senate floor Monday.