Speakers at Public Hearing Against Drug Testing TANF Recipients

Beckley Register-Herald - Several speakers at a public hearing in the House of Delegates Chamber Friday morning said drug testing welfare recipients is a bad idea because of basic privacy rights issues and the likely low number of positive tests. Read

ACLU legal director Jamie Lynn Crofts said drug testing of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients could be constitutionally invalid because the government cannot mandate a search without probable cause.

The bill, SB 6, which passed the Senate on Feb. 9 by a huge margin, would give the authority to determine "reasonable suspicion" of drug use among TANF applicants to Department of Health and Human Resources workers. A positive test would require drug rehabilitation classes, but would not result in loss of benefits; a second positive test would also require drug rehabilitation education and the loss of benefits for 12 months; a third positive drug test would mean permanent loss of TANF. 

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