Lawmakers Back Changes to Welfare Benefits

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Low-income Michigan families would have to take drug tests and make sure their children don't miss too much school to qualify for some welfare benefits, under legislation in the state House.

A bill recently approved by the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee would allow for suspicion-based substance abuse screening and testing for people applying for and receiving some welfare benefits.

Another bill debated by the committee would codify current Department of Human Services' policy and strip a family of cash assistance if a child under the age of 16 doesn't meet school attendance requirements.

Supporters say the measures would protect against the misuse of taxpayer dollars and boost school attendance, but opponents say they unfairly penalize low-income families.

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