A new effort is being made to take away welfare checks from some recipients if they’re on drugs.
A half-dozen proposals have been introduced in the legislature requiring drug tests for recipients in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program who are suspected of being on drugs. The House passed a bill last year but it died in the Senate. The Senate is where most of the bills have been introduced this year.
Cape Giardeau Senator Jason Crowell, the sponsor of one of them, says the TANF program is designed to prepare people for jobs in the private sector that are not available to people on drugs. Crowell comment :33 mp3
The sponsor of another bill, Senator Bill Stouffer of Napton, says taxpayers should not allow people to use taxpayer-funded assistance checks to buy drugs. Stouffer comment :28 mp3
The proposals would cut confirmed drug users off the TANF rolls for one to three years. Opponents say the state does not have a system to deal with recipients who have those problems although they say the Department of Mental Health would refer people to treatment programs. The bills do not require treatment or say how the state would pay for it.