Bill passes requiring welfare recipients to be drug tested

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OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill that would shake up who can get welfare in Oklahoma passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives Monday. It’s now one step closer to becoming law. House Bill 23-88 would require those applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF to submit to drug testing.

If they fail, they would be ineligible for one year unless they successfully complete a rehab program within six months.

Rep. Guy Liebman authored the bill.

“We don’t want our tax money being used to buy illegal drugs under any circumstances,” he said.

The bill passed on a bi-partisan vote of 82 to 6.

Richard Morissette voted against it.

He says there are already checks in place for TANF.

“In order to receive it, you have to apply to get a job and you have to be screened by DHS already. This bill is just a ‘feel good bill’ by the author and members of the house so they can say they’re stopping people on drugs from receiving free subsidies,” he said.

It is estimated that more than 40,000 people who are on aid would be affected.

Those who apply for state aid would also have to pay for the drug tests which run around $25.

If the test is negative, the fee would be refunded through the program.

If a parent tests positive, it would not affect the eligibility of the dependent’s child for the program.

Liebman believes TANF recipients should have to endure what many taxpaying American workers endure.

“You know employers test to give you a job and you know it’s just kind of common now that people get drug tested and screened,” he said.

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