Welfare drug testing bill moves forward

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A state Senate committee made big changes Wednesday to a bill requiring drug testing for welfare recipients.

The bill was amended so that only welfare recipients with a misdemeanor drug conviction would now face mandatory testing. Felony convictions make them ineligible.

Even so, Democrats argued that the bill does nothing to protect children.

“In order to protect them, you’re going to take away the benefits that they have to sustain life,” said Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis). “You can shake your head all you want but somebody’s going to lose benefits on this.”

“Nobody, nobody stands a risk of losing any benefits unless they are abusing drugs,” said Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), “whether they be prescription drugs or illegal drugs. Nobody’s going to lose them unless they have this problem.”

In the end, the committee approved the weakened bill on a party line vote.

It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which must approve the spending required to set up a testing program.

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