Bill Requiring Drug Testing For Oklahoma Welfare Recipients Advances
OKLAHOMA CITY - Legislation to require routine drug tests for Oklahoma welfare recipients took a step forward Monday. House Bill 2388 was approved by a House of Representatives subcommittee. It will next be heard in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
"Under current law, welfare benefits can indirectly subsidize an individual's drug habit, so we must make sure there are penalties for people who take advantage of the system," said Representative John Bennett, R-Sallisaw.
The bill would require applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to submit to and pay for a drug test. If they test positive, they are ineligible for one year unless they successfully complete a substance abuse program within six months.
About 40,600 potential recipients would be affected by the legislation. Dependent children would still be eligible for aid if their parents fail the drug test.
A similar program in Florida resulted in almost denial of benefits to almost 10 percent of applicants. It saved taxpayers nearly $1 million in the first month, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability.