Officials in Pennsylvania are introducing a new drug testing program for certain welfare recipients. Pennsylvania’s program will randomly test those with a felony drug conviction within the past five years, and those on probation for such crimes. A program introduced in Florida last year to test all welfare recipients was blocked by a federal judge.
The Pennsylvania program is being piloted in one county, and could expand statewide this summer if it is shown to be cost effective, Fox News reports.
“One of the biggest suggestions I hear from constituents at the numerous town hall meetings I regularly hold is that we need to drug test welfare beneficiaries,” State Senator David Argall, who supports the measure, said in a statement. “With over $10 billion going to the Department of Public Welfare, this initiative seeks to stop the abuse within our welfare system.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 36 states put forth proposals last year around drug testing of welfare and foods stamps. In addition to Florida, Arizona and Missouri also passed legislation. The measures in those two states were tailored more narrowly, the article notes.
Opponents of measures to require drug testing for welfare recipients say they are unfair, and are not cost effective.