Lawmaker Questions Constitutionality of Welfare Drug Testing Bill

 The full state Senate could vote next week on a bill to require drug testing for some welfare recipients. The Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services approved the measure by a vote of 9-3. Democrat Senator Jean Breaux of Indianapolis says many people don’t realize recipients of Temporary Aid for Needy Families benefits are already required to be looking for or have a job.

“A large portion of them are working,” Breaux says. “They are simply the working poor. This bill presumes that just because you receive some sort of state assistance you are either a drug abuser or someone who sits around and waits to get state money so you can go out and buy drugs.”

Breaux says the proposal is an unfair characterization of a hardworking population that needs assistance. She adds that the constitutionality of similar bills in other states has been challenged. Additionally, Breaux says the return on the state’s investment in the drug testing is too miniscule to make it worthwhile.