It seems that drug testing welfare recipients is becoming commonplace nowadays. In Texas, two top officials are calling for mandatory drug testing on “high-risk” individuals who are receiving welfare and unemployment assistance.
The Austin-American Statesman reports Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst endorsed on Tuesday changes in the welfare and unemployment programs to keep recipients from spending money on illegal substances.
“Texas taxpayers will not subsidize or tolerate illegal drug abuse,” Gov. Perry said at a news conference at Austin Glass and Mirror Every dollar that goes to someone who uses it inappropriately is a dollar that can’t go to a Texan who needs it for housing, child care or medicine.”
If Texas approved the reform, it would become the 8th state to enforce welfare recipient drug testing law.
There are more than 100,000 Texas residents enrolled in TANF which cost the state nearly $90 million a year.
Under the bill filed on Monday by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, “high” risks welfare and unemployment applicants would undergo drug tests. Those who will have positive results could be denied of assistance for up to twelve months. However, they could qualify for treatment programs covered by Medicaid if they were eligible.
Perry and David did not mention potential costs of the drug testing program, but said any Texas program would be efficient.