Mississippi To Drug Test Welfare Recipients
Mississippi should be aware that this expensive law has been a failure when enacted in other states.
The law will require applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to answer a questionnaire evaluating their likelihood of substance abuse. If they are deemed to be at risk, they will have to take a drug test, and a positive test result will require them to undergo treatment for substance abuse. A second positive test will keep them out of the program for 90 days, while a third will kick them out for up to a year.
The bill’s lead sponsor estimated that the testing would cost about $36,000 a year, paid for with federal TANF funds.
Virginia lawmakers balked altogether at a proposal when they realized it would cost $1.5 million while saving just $229,000. North Carolina’s state legislature overrode the Republican governor’s veto to pass a drug testing requirement, but the governor has still said he’ll fight it.
Besides big administrative costs, these laws can also bring hefty court fees. A federal judge invalidated Florida’s law earlier this year after many other decisions similarly finding it to be unconstitutional, and others have also been struck down by the courts.
Republicans want a nanny state; one that costs taxpayers too much money.