Michigan lawmaker proposes drug testing welfare recipients

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 20:44 EDT
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A doctor examining a fresh urine specimen.
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Michigan state Rep. Jeff Farrington (R) has introduced legislation to the state legislature that would require low-income families with children and pregnant women to pass a drug test before receiving temporary government assistance.

The legislation requires applicants to the state’s Family Independence Program to pay for the drug test, even if the test fails to uncover drug use.

The program helps impoverished families pay for living expenses, including rent, heat, utilities and personal care items.

Florida and Missouri passed laws this year that require all applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program to undergo a drug test.

Michigan previously tried to implement a welfare drug testing law, but it was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2003.

U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts held that testing welfare recipients “could be used for testing the parents of all children who received Medicaid, State Emergency Relief, educational grants or loans, public education or any other benefit from that State.”

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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