Welfare Applications to Include Drug Tests

The Nebraska government has a new bill in Legislature seeking to approve a measure to require all applicants for welfare to undergo mandatory drug testing to receive it. 22 other states attempted to pass the bill last year, but were unable to due to concerns about privacy and cost.

Sen. Charlie Janssen's bill requires Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services to develop a plan to test welfare recipients and applicants for drugs. A positive results would mean a loss of benefits for one year.

Janssen said, "When a taxpayer gives assistance to somebody, it's assistance so they can get back up on their feet. It's kind of a slap in the face to the tax payers when they say, 'We're going to get up on our feet while we're doing drugs."

In 1999, Congress authorized states to implement drug testing for welfare, but Michigan is the only state to implement it only to have it thrown out be a federal judge for allowing for random drug testing, violating constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

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