Bill would require those on welfare in Michigan to undergo drug testing

Bill would require Department of Human Services to screen applicants, recipients for suspicion of substance abuse

By Will Jones - Reporter

LANSING, Mich. - It's a controversial idea one step closer to becoming law. The Michigan Senate passed a bill Thursday that would require those on welfare in Michigan to undergo drug testing.

A bill about drug testing welfare recipients moving through Lansing is getting strong reaction in metro Detroit.

Along party lines in the state Senate with Republicans saying yay and Democrats voting nay, they approved a bill that would set up a pilot drug testing program for people on welfare in three counties.

The bill would require the Department of Human Services to screen applicants and recipients if they suspect substance abuse.

More: Michigan Senate passes welfare drug testing pilot program

If they refuse the test their benefits would be denied. If they fail the test they would be referred to a treatment program. If they test positive a second time they would lose their benefits.

A mother of six said she has been on welfare before. She said she would have gladly be tested for drugs. She said it would rid the system of abusers.

The legislation sets aside $500,000 for the year-long pilot program in at least three counties. The counties have not been chosen yet.

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