Michigan House Considers Drug Test for Some Welfare Applicants

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, is pushing to pass a bill that will mandate a drug test for some people who apply and reapply for cash assistance from the state. The policy would be suspicion based, meaning applicants will be tested only if they're suspected of substance abuse in the first place. Rep. Farrington says it's a way to save taxpayer money.

"Why are their hard earned tax dollars going to people that are looking for cash assistance, but yet they have an illegal drug habit," said Rep. Farrington.

According to Farrington, making the test suspicion based ensures it's constitutional. He estimates it'll save the state around $1 million per year by not handing out cash to those who test positive.

However, the Michigan League for Human Services is calling this bill punitive.

"This is a solution that is looking for a problem," said MLHS CEO Gilda Jacobs.

Jacobs says the legislation will be a problem especially for children.

"Cash assistance is only for families that have children. Two thirds of the people that receive cash assistance are kids," Jacobs said.

Rep. Farrington believes otherwise.

"Do you think that cash is really going to the children if they have an illegal drug habit? My answer is no, I don't think it is."

He argues taking away the cash to help the adults get off illegal drugs will ultimately benefit the kids.

MLHS says there's no language in the bill to help those in trouble get back on track. Adding that language in is something Republican lawmakers say they're willing to consider.

As the bill is written now, the cost of the drug test will come out of the applicant's first welfare payment if he or she tests negative. If the applicant tests postive, the state will pay for the test.


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  • by JRHowosso Location: Owosso on May 20, 2012 at 08:07 AM
    "As the bill is written now, the cost of the drug test will come out of the applicant's first welfare payment if he or she tests negative. If the applicant tests postive, the state will pay for the test. " If you test negative then you will be receiving more checks, if positive the only thing you will be getting from the State is the free test..........!
  • by Dennis Location: da UP on May 17, 2012 at 11:08 AM
    The top cash award is 40$ per month. 2/3's of the clients are children. The 4th amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure. I know you have nothing to hide, so let the government erase constitutional protections that patriots died for? Roll over SHEEP, show the elite your soft bellies. The last line of the article MUST be a mistake.
  • by DJ Location: Clare on May 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
    It is about freakin time that's all I have to say.
  • by anonymous Location: howell on May 16, 2012 at 12:29 PM
    i see alot of issue with this on "suspicion" alone. On who's suspicion just test all applicants and no one can cry discrimination
  • by Jennah Location: Jackson on May 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM
    well, i agree with this in a way, but i have one other suggestion, perhaps we should drug test the people of the house, and sen. upon suspicion no need for our tax dollars to give them a bonus for them to use the money to buy drugs, cigs, booze or for that matter illegal sex acts.... maybe they should raise the pay of Americans that are not millionaires so they can get off welfare. I personally work a full time job i have had for 6 years so i pay my taxes just like others but when you think about how much of our money is wasted on mindless bull that the government decides to spend it on may be we should blame someone else for taking our hard earned tax dollars.
  • by John Location: Mason on May 16, 2012 at 08:32 AM
    "Some" welfare applicants? Test them all. This should have been instituted long ago. I can't believe anyone would disagree with this..
  • by Shannon Location: Mason on May 16, 2012 at 07:55 AM
    I have been a foster parent and work with low income families and I seen this happen more than once. I think all people on welfare should be drug tested and if positive they need to pay for it. I'm ok if we help them become drug free. The children need to be removed from their home right away and can not be returned to parents until they are drug free for 3 to 6 months. I feel this would help us tax payers and the children's future.
    • reply
      by Dennis on May 17, 2012 at 11:15 AM in reply to Shannon
      A father was murdered by police in Michigan last month. His ex told an officer he used marijuana. The officer contacted CPS and they all went to take this mans kids. He objected and they shot him down in front of his children. No charges, No trial, No arrest, No investigation, NO proof, now, NO dad for those kids. At least us precious taxpayers won't have to pay for his incarceration.
  • by Anonymous on May 16, 2012 at 07:24 AM
    this should apply to ALL applicants! No different then applying for jobs!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 17, 2012 at 06:13 AM in reply to
      The reason is, is your light upon the hill, the corporate shill... Ol' Shaky Reagan and his Beautiful wife's beginning a war on drugs that is an abject failure that has cost our country much.
  • by Pam Location: Lansing on May 16, 2012 at 07:07 AM
    Go ahead and test me.I will post it to show everyone not every person who gets cash assistance are not drug addicta or alcholics. I have no issue with the drug test except for the fact that if I pass the test they take it out of my cash assistant when it just pays my rent so my daughter can have a place to live.
    • reply
      by Angie on May 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM in reply to Pam
      Slow your roll Ms. Attitude. Re-read your second sentence and try to prove your point. Then, re-read the final paragraph of the article. If you pass the test the state pays for it. Reading and comprehension skills are important in finding and keeping a job.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 17, 2012 at 06:14 AM in reply to Angie
        Yeah like you said genius. As the bill is written now, the cost of the drug test will come out of the applicant's first welfare payment if he or she tests negative. If the applicant tests postive, the state will pay for the test. That must be why you are a slug and another mouth at the teat of the taxpayers right angie? DIAFB
  • by funny on May 16, 2012 at 06:51 AM
    Tax dollars pay for many more things other than welfare...you'll be surprise what they fund like the college that want to study the effects of bird on cocaine ..if u do the math this is the lease of Michigan problems and America's... government's officials throw tax payer money away all day but it always better to talk bad about the poor needy and help less..and if u never had a drug problem ..you'll never understand why people do half the things they do when drug are involved ...
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