State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville)
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A local lawmaker’s proposal to drug test some recipients of welfare has passed the Indiana Senate.
State Rep. Jud McMillin’s (R-Brookville) House Bill 1483 would require applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to complete a written screening test for possible drug abuse problems starting July 1.
TANF recipients who flunk the written test would then be subject to a random drug test. Those who pass the test would continue receiving benefits, but the welfare recipients who don’t would face losing their TANF assistance unless they enter drug counseling – which they select themselves – and pass a follow-up test.
The Senate amended the bill to allow for TANF benefits for children to be transferred to another parent or guardian if the other loses the income, the Indianapolis Star reports. It’s a change McMillin, the bill’s author, disagrees with
“We will still allow individuals to receive TANF dollars for children even if those (adults) have failed a drug test and refused to go into treatment and are not interested in cleaning themselves up,” McMillin said, according to the Star.
“I don’t know why we would do that. We’re not giving the money to the children...,” he continued. “We’d be giving that money to parents who have failed drug tests and thumbed their nose at what we’re asking them to do: Get some treatment.”
Opponents of the bill wonder about the program’s cost, which the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency has tagged at $2.6 million in its first year.
The Senate approved the bill Wednesday on a 38-12 vote. The legislation now heads to conference committee, where the House and Senate versions of the bill can be reconciled.
If a final version can be agreed up, the bill would still have to receive the signature of Governor Mike Pence before becoming law.