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TANF Drug Testing Bill Soon to Be Considered in the House

del._john_shott_and_tim_manchin.jpg
Perry Bennett
/
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Minority House Judiciary Chairman Tim Manchin, D-Marion (left) speaking with Majority House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer (right).

A House committee has passed a bill that would require drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Senate Bill 6 requires the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to apply for permission from the federal government to begin a drug screening and testing program.

In that program, applicants of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF benefits could be tested if there’s “reasonable suspicion” those applicants are using drugs or if they’ve been convicted of a drug crime in the past five years. But House Judiciary Chairman John Shott said that provision was amended in his committee.

“And that was with regard to the screening instrument that the Department of Health and Human Resources will be using when new applicants come in, and it just changed the timeframe within which to look for previous drug use from five years to, shortened that to three years,” Shott said.

A recent poll of likely West Virginia voters found 77 percent of voters supported drug testing welfare recipients.

Senate Bill 6 was reported to the full House on Saturday and will likely see a vote Wednesday.


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