Local News
1:21 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Bill That Would Drug Test Some Welfare Recipients Clears Indiana House

A bill that would require drug testing for some welfare recipients has been approved by the Indiana House of Representatives.

Under the measure, people who sign up for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program would have to complete a written test to screen for drug abuse.   Those suspected of having a problem would be drug tested and if they fail, would have to seek treatment to continue getting benefits.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled chamber today,  78-17.   Democrat Charlie Brown voted no, calling the legislation “elitist.”

"This sends a very, very, very strange message to all of our constituents, to this entire state, that we don’t trust a segment of this community," Brown said in a floor speech. 

House Republicans defeated an attempt by Democrats last week to add drug testing for state lawmakers to the measure.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jud McMillin says it is aimed at helping those with drug abuse problems and improving the home environment for children.

"We can give men fish and give women fish or we can teach people to fish.   It’s important that we teach adults to fish, it’s more important that we teach kids to fish so they can grow up in a safe environment and be quality adults and I think this bill does that," McMillin said. 

The bill now goes to the Senate.