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Virginia, Ohio And Kansas Considering Drug Tests For Welfare Recipients

Lawmakers in Virginia, Ohio, and Kansas have all decided to introduce mandatory testing for illegal substances for citizens applying for welfare benefits.

Virginia Republican Delegate Dickie Bell originally introduced the idea earlier in 2012, but it was quickly rejected when further research showed that it would actually cost the government $1.2 million while only saving them $229,000. According to Bell, he has now come up with a more cost-effective way to implement the change, but has not yet publically released his plans.

In Ohio, Republican lawmakers are pushing to require only welfare applicants who confess to having previously consumed illegal substances to undergo the tests. When the bill was first introduced last year, it was quickly pushed aside due to pressure from opponents. The state held the second hearing for this proposal last week, which will begin as a pilot programming operating in three Ohio counties.

According to Kansas Republican State Senate Vice President Jeff King, the bill to require drug testing for welfare applicants in Kansas focuses less on the cost of its implementation and more on helping those who are in to receive proper rehabilitation and assistance. The bill is all about making sure that those who test positive acquire the skills needed to get a job and turn around their lives.

These three states are not the first ones to attempt to implement a bill of this kind, however. A Florida judge has temporarily blocked a law that requires welfare recipients to pass drug tests, due to its cost to the government, and Texas Governor Rick Perry recently proposed a similar law in November. Michigan proved ahead of the game nearly ten years ago, when it ruled a law requiring those on welfare to participate in drug tests as unconstitutional on the grounds of the Fourth Amendment.