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Indiana Lawmaker Proposes Drug Testing For Welfare Benefits

Last updated on Monday, February 11, 2013

(TERRE HAUTE) - Indiana Republican State Senator Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, in January proposed a measure limiting access to public assistance for recipients who can’t successfully pass a controlled substance test.

Eric Stidman of WTHI reports that this month, the bill went before a health and services committee which will review how much it would cost the state to implement such a plan.

The plan itself states that it "requires the office of the secretary of family and social services to develop and establish a pilot program in three counties to test for the use of controlled substances under certain conditions by an individual who: (1) receives assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for the individual or on behalf of a child; and (2) is at least 18 years of age."

This means that those currently receiving government assistance would have to submit to a drug test; if failed, no benefits.

The bill continues, "[The measure] requires the office to notify the Department of Child Services if a child is ineligible for assistance as a result of an individual testing positive for the illegal use of a controlled substance," meaning a local benefits office would have to immediately notify the state office if a drug test failure was reported.

Lastly, "[The measure] requires the department, not later than nine months after the date the department receives the office's report, to conduct a home visit at the child's residence to determine whether to pursue the report as a report of suspected child abuse or neglect."

The measure was last reviewed February 1.

Indiana lawmakers are looking at what the measure would cost the state in a Committee on Health and Provider Services. According to state documents, administrative costs could run up to $1.13 million.

Republic Senator Dennis Kruse represents Indiana's District 14, in the northeastern part of the state.

According to Senator Kruse's website, the lawmaker is happy to represent the people of his district, stating "I take my role as your State Senator very seriously, and I look for any opportunity to make life better for the citizens of District 14 and the surrounding areas."

Moving forward, the bill will need to be approved by the committee and move into the full senate. It's not yet immediately clear as to what kind of support the bill will have from there.

If the legislation moves through the legislative bodies and gets governor Mike Pence's signature, it would be come law with an effective date of July 1, 2013.

To read more on this story read http://www.wthitv.com/dpp/news/indiana/indiana-lawmaker-proposes-drug-testing-for-welfare-benefits#.URjIivIa--A

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