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Texas Senate OKs Drug Tests for People on Welfare

Lance Cheung, USDA

The Texas Senate voted unanimously today to require drug testing for Texans on welfare.

SB 11 would require Texans who get cash from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to be given a drug screening questionnaire. The answers to the questions could lead to drug testing.

“We want to help people become good productive citizens,” said Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, the bill’s author. “On the other hand, as a taxpayer, and I’m sure most taxpayers would agree, we don’t want our hard-earned dollars to go to an individual who’s going to use that money to buy drugs.”

There was concern that children would suffer if their parents test positive for drug use. So the current version of the bill has a provision for a “protective payee,” another adult who’s passed the drug tests and who would make sure the state assistance gets to the children.

Other bills in play this legislative session would drug-test applicants for unemployment compensation -- people laid off from jobs through no fault of their own.

Trey Shaar is an All Things Considered producer, reporter and host. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @treyshaar.
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