Illinois state rep from Glen Carbon proposes drug testing for welfare applicants

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 7:00 PM

(KMOV) – Illinois State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) has introduced legislation that would require residents to undergo a drug test before being made eligible to receive welfare benefits.

If passed, House Bill 4255 would require the state to establish a drug testing program that all applicants of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families would have to submit to. The cost of the test would be deducted from the applicant’s first benefits payment if they became eligible.

“This bill will go a long way in ensuring families are able to receive the benefits they need while also making sure the system is fair and cleansed of as much abuse as possible,” Kay said in a statement.

In 2011, Missouri passed similar legislation that required applicants and recipients of the welfare program to be screened for illegal drug use.

Critics contend such legislation singles out one group of people for no reason, while backers of the testing say welfare benefits funded by taxpayers should not go to people who are using illegal drugs.

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