Welfare recipients may get drug tested in Kansas, and legislators may too, after the Kansas Senate passed the drug testing bill Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.
Senate Bill 149 is aimed at people who receive cash assistance in a program called Temporary Aid for Families in Need.
If there is “reasonable suspicion” a person would have to undergo a drug test. The person could pay for another test if they get a positive result.
The measure passed by a 31-8 margin.
Democrats against the proposal added legislators to the bill, which includes most top state officials. They too could be tested if there is reasonable suspicion.
Supporters say the measure will help poor people stop addictions and get job training skills, and find employment.
The Temporary Financial Aid to Families in Need is for people who are looking for work and have small children.
Opponents say it continues to demonize poor people, and singles out women because single mothers are the largest group of welfare recipients.
This bill could also be used to deny unemployment insurance payments. Employers would have to notify the state if a job applicant tests positive or refuses to take a drug test.
The measure will cost $2 millon the first year to get set up, and $1 million after that. If 1,400 are found to be using drugs and benefits denied, the program would break even.
A proposal to include business owners who receive incentives or money from the state was shot down.