Drug testing may soon be mandatory for welfare recipients

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Welfare recipients could soon be forced to pass a drug test before seeing any benefits.

Lawmakers in the General Assembly are close to passing a bill that would make it mandatory.

The bill requiring drug testing for welfare recipients sailed through a key committee toward a decisive final house vote by week's end.

The bill would require initial screening of people seeking benefits under the state's temporary aid for needy families program.

Those who screen positive would have blood drawn for more definitive tests. Those who fail would forfeit benefits for at least a year.

Democrats say this bill is a violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures. They also asked if similar tests would be demanded of others who receive state benefits.

And the answer to that could be yes — this is just one of several proposed bills making its way through the General Assembly.

This bill finds a friendly audience in a house that's two-thirds Republican and a newly GOP-run senate.

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