State Republicans want people who apply for welfare assistance to undergo a drug test and return a clean result before they can continue receiving benefits. But the question is: will the proposal pass the House?
In the bill submitted by Reps. Donald LeBrun (R-Nashua) and Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack), welfare applicants are required to pass a drug test before receiving assistance under the federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Applicants cover the screening cost upfront, but they will get reimbursement in their first TANF allotment if they pass the test. However, those who fail the drug test would have their benefits cut for a year but would be allowed to re-apply once they successfully completed a substance abuse program, the Huffington Post reports.
“I’m going to present the bill as a common-sense housekeeping or stewardship kind of thing,” LeBrun told the New Hampshire Union Leader in an interview. “I hope to convince people that there is a problem and we have to do something about it.”
LeBrun is no stranger in passing legislation that mandate drug testing for welfare recipients. In 2011, he co-sponsored a bill that requires random drug testing of food stamp recipient — only that, it didn’t pass the House. But the lawmaker remains unfazed, saying he just wanted “to identify people who have problems and have them treated.”