The Oklahoma House on Monday approved legislation that would require politicians throughout the state to be drug tested along with people receiving temporary public assistance.
The legislation heads to the state Senate after being passed by a vote of 82 to 6, according to Reuters.
The bill requires applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to undergo a mandatory drug test.
The Department of Human Services estimates 22,000 people in Oklahoma receive TANF benefits, which helps poor families with children pay for living expenses, including rent, heat, utilities and personal care items.
Democrats who opposed the legislation added an amendment that requires anyone seeking public office to pass a drug test as well. The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Guy Liebman, opposed the amendment, but his attempt to eliminate measure was defeated by a bipartisan vote.
Florida and Missouri have both approved laws requiring low-income parents seeking federal cash assistance to pass a drug test. In October, Florida’s drug testing law was halted by District Court Judge Mary Scriven.
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
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