Drug testing TANF recipients closer to becoming Miss. law - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Drug testing TANF recipients closer to becoming Miss. law

Posted: Updated:
Benefits would cease if the person failed the test. Benefits would cease if the person failed the test.

(WMC-TV) - Drug testing certain welfare recipients is a step closer to becoming law in Mississippi. It is a hot-button topic pushed by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and it passed Wednesday night by the state house of representatives. The measure moves on to the Mississippi state senate for further review.

The welfare drug testing bill passed the Republican-controlled Mississippi House by a 74-46 vote following four hours of debate.

If the bill becomes law, any adult applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) would be required to fill out a questionnaire. If the answers indicate possible use of illegal substances, the person would have to undergo a drug test.

Benefits would cease if the person failed the test.

"I don't think you should have to penalize the entire family for that. I think that you can help a person without placing penalties on the entire family. We're talking about children that will be without food and necessities," said Rep. Adrienne Wooten, (D) MS House 71.

Democrats offered several amendments, such as requiring drug tests for others who receive state financial support from corporate execs to college students. Those amendments failed.

A similar welfare drug testing law was recently struck down by a federal judge in Florida. Meanwhile, the state of Utah spent $30,000 on testing only to find that 12 people failed.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow