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General News

Effort To Drug Test Welfare Recipients Is Likely Dead

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For the fourth session in a row, legislative language creating a program to drug test welfare recipients appears dead. The author of this year’s version has changed his mind about passing the measure in its current form.

Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Crothersville, last week crafted an amendment to a health care bill that would allow the state to randomly drug test welfare recipients. But in a conference committee hearing on the bill Tuesday, Goodin said several organizations, including community and mental health advocates, expressed concerns about his proposal.

So Goodin says wants the drug testing program deleted from the bill and replaced with a summer study committee.

“That [way], we can reach these folks who have drug abuse problems, that are afflicted with drug abuse, and be able to come up with an effective policy that we’ll be able to bring to the legislature next session,” Goodin says.

Sen. Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis, who authored the bill the drug testing language was inserted into, notes that there are 16,000 Hoosier children on welfare compared to only 3,800 adults.

“At one time, I heard it was going to be a $1.8 million cost to save $200,000 of federal funds, so the balance is not good,” Miller says.

Miller says she has to take Goodin’s summer study committee proposal to the Senate GOP caucus but expects them to support it.

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