Committee Approves Drug Testing for TANF Recipients

Members of the House Appropriations and Budget (A&B) Subcommittee on Human Services were presented a Committee Substitute for HB2388 which would have required all Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) applicants to undergo a drug screening, pay for the screening, and be reimbursed if found clean. Currently, DHS assessments indicate whether a person would be required to undergo a drug screen and such tests are by urinalysis. As re-ported, an undocumented but estimated 5% of those screened fail the drug test and no party has challenged such results. Oklahoma pays the Medicaid rate of $20 for the screening. A similar Florida law is currently stayed pending legal opinion regarding the constitutionality of such a law. Rep. Nelson successfully moved to amend the bill to require a drug screen of new TANF recipients within three months of application if the tests are to be paid for by applicants who are persons in need. Further, the screening of new recipients would significantly reduce the number of required tests (~13,000 vs. 40,000). Read the House news release. Senator Barrington also has related SB1073.

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