Drug Testing Proposed For Michigan Welfare Recipients

By: Hannah Saunders Email
By: Hannah Saunders Email
A proposal to tie welfare benefits to clean drug tests is not sitting well with folks who deal with people looking for a helping hand.

The Michigan Capitol is shown at twilight Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009, in Lansing, Mich. Lawmakers continue work on budget bills that deal with a $2.8 billion shortfall before an Oct. 1 deadline. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Lansing's Advent House Ministries has been helping the needy for over 20 years. People who are down on their luck depend on people like Executive Director Susan Cancro to help them overcome difficult situations, unemployment and drug use. She is frustrated about a possible law in the works to require all welfare recipient and applicants in Michigan to take a urine test to screen for drug use: "If you want people to address those issues, make sure they have the resources. Don't pull those away."

The proposal is still in the early stages. Lawmakers say they still must decide whether to test all recipient and applicants or only those suspected of using drugs. State Representative of Frankenmuth explains why he believes this will push those who need welfare in a positive direction: "We need to give the tax payers of the state of Michigan the confidence that their tax money is being spent wisely, and the recipients need to know that they are going to be treated with dignity."

A measure similar to this was put through the system a decade ago and failed. Lawmakers say this one is more likely to pass, because this time around, they are only pushing for one-time drug testing instead of random. Details of the possible law are not expected to be hammered out for at least another few months. In the mean time, details will be analyzed and compared to similar laws passed and proposed in at least 40 other states.

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