WV Senate Passes Welfare Drug Testing Bill

Huntington Herald-Dispatch - The West Virginia Senate has approved a bill that could lead to a 3-year pilot program to drug-test certain applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, commonly referred to as TANF. Read

The Senate approved Senate Bill 6 by a vote of 32-2 Tuesday morning. The bill moves to the House of Delegates for consideration.

Sens. Bob Plymale, D-Wayne; Mark Maynard, R-Wayne; and Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, voted in favor of the bill.

The two votes against the bill came from Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, and Sen. William R. Laird IV, D-Fayette.

The bill will require officials with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to seek federal approval to drug-screen and test applicants for TANF, which is West Virginia's public welfare program, if DHHR employees have reasonable suspicion that an applicant is abusing drugs.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy reported in December 2015 there were 7,715 TANF cases in West Virginia. Of those cases, 2,882 were adult cases, and 4,833 were child-only cases, according to the report.

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