23 States Considering Welfare Drug Tests

Lawmakers follow lead of Florida

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 1, 2012 2:10 PM CST

(Newser) – Lawmakers in 22 states think Florida had the right idea with its law requiring welfare recipients to pass a drug test. States like Wyoming, Illinois, Maryland, and Colorado are all considering similar laws that would make a clean drug test a prerequisite for food stamps, welfare, and other forms of government aid, USA Today reports. Ohio and Tennessee are even considering restricting or eliminating eligibility for those convicted of drug felonies. Another proposed law would mandate substance abuse training for anyone receiving housing assistance.

"If you have enough money to be able to buy drugs, then you don't need the public assistance," reasoned one Colorado legislator. Of course, the Florida law has caught very few offenders, while drawing a fierce—and so far successful—legal challenge from the ACLU, which says the law unfairly stigmatizes welfare recipients. "This exemplifies the extent to which folks are willing to scapegoat poor people when it suits political interests," a lawyer for the group says.

Lots of states are considering Florida-style drug test laws.
Lots of states are considering Florida-style drug test laws.   (Shutterstock)
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