In an effort to cut down on wasting taxpayer dollars, state governments have been taking measures to ensure that anyone receiving government benefits isn’t misusing them.
For example, Florida lawmakers have been considering enacting a bill that would require state welfare applicants with prior drug-related convictions to submit to mandatory drug testing before receiving benefits, according to WESH.
The bill would also reportedly require applicants suspected of being on drugs to pay up to $40 for the drug testing, and those who pass the test would be reimbursed.
Those who failed the drug test, however, would be prevented from receiving benefits for a year, or those who completed a substance abuse program at their own expense could reapply after six months.
Rep. Chris Latvala, a Republican sponsoring the bill, said the measure was intended to ensure that those getting state funds are “not using that money for drugs,” according to The Associated Press.
Democrats, of course, decried the bill as “unconstitutional,” based on a federal court ruling on a similar 2011 law that established drug screenings for all welfare applicants.
Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, said the bill would contribute to Florida being a “place for no second chances.”
If passed, the measure would cost about $500,000 to develop a procedure for the Department of Children and Families to perform these drug tests, in addition to the reimbursement of drug screening costs.
It cleared its first hurdle in the House on April 3 with an 8-2 vote by the Children, Families and Seniors subcommittee, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
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