Missouri House approves drug testing for welfare benefits

Friday, February 12, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri House has voted to require drug testing for certain people receiving or seeking cash welfare benefits and for elected state officials.

The bill was approved Thursday on a vote of 114-39. It now goes to the state Senate, which debated its own version of the measure Thursday but took no vote.

Proponents say the mandatory tests would ensure that tax dollars don't subsidize illegal drug use. Critics question if the children of people testing positive for drugs would be harmed by losing benefits.

The bill says elected state officials would have to submit to drug tests every two years.

Work-eligible adults who seek or receive welfare would be tested if there's "reasonable suspicion" of drug use. Those who refuse or test positive would not be eligible for cash benefits for one year.

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