Indiana House Passes Mandatory Drug Tests For Welfare Recipients

Indiana’s House of Representatives on Monday approved a bill that would require all welfare recipients to undergo drug testing, despite the fact that several courts have ruled such measures are unconstitutional. Public assistance would be denied to any applicant who refused to undergo rehabilitation treatment.

The bill would require recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who tests positive for illegal substances to pay for their own drug tests out of their assistance checks. It would also force anyone with drugs in their system to enroll in a treatment program, but the bill offers no additional funding for such programs:

If the individual tests positive on a drug test administered under this chapter, the amount of the cost of any subsequent drug test the individual is required to undergo will be withheld from the TANF assistance the individual receives, if the individual continues to receive TANF assistance, regardless of whether the individual tests positive or tests negative on the subsequent drug test.

In 2011, Indiana approved a similar requirement for people to apply for unemployment insurance, and just one percent of applicants failed. Similar numbers have come from Republican-led drug testing efforts in Florida.

What’s more, it’s not likely that such requirements actually save the state any money.