Senate Passes Welfare Drug Testing Pilot Program

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan lawmakers have taken another step toward requiring drug tests for certain welfare recipients.

A Republican House bill that passed the Senate 25-11 Thursday would establish a suspicion-based drug testing pilot program for recipients of state cash assistance. The yearlong pilot would begin in at least three counties.

The bill would require the Department of Human Services to screen applicants and recipients for suspicion of substance abuse. If individuals' screening results raise suspicions, they'd have to take a drug test. A recipient could become ineligible for assistance if the test results are positive.

The legislation appropriates $500,000 for the pilot program in fiscal 2014.

Opponents of the bill say it would promote ugly stereotypes of poor people and wouldn't save Michigan money.

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