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Texas may require drug tests for welfare recipients

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AUSTIN, TEXAS Texas lawmakers are debating several bills that would require drug testing of those who receive state benefits.

Kens5 San Antonio reports there have been nearly a dozen bills this session that would create tougher rules for those seeking unemployment benefits and other financial assistance -- and many include drug testing as a requirement.

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to drug test some welfare applicants and cut off drug users from receiving money. It is now set to go to the House for consideration.

Senate Bill 11 requires adults receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to submit to a drug screening questionnaire and, if necessary, a drug test.

It includes a provision that allows the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to designate someone else to receive benefits on a child's behalf if their parent tests positive for drugs. The payee would also be subject to a drug test.

Other bills under debate include those which would require applicants for unemployment benefits to submit to drug testing, will be heard Wednesday in the Economic and Small Business Development Committee.

Texas State Republican Senator Tommy Williams' SB 21 -- which would subject Texans' eligible for unemployment compensation benefits to a drug test -- passed out of that chamber's Economic Development Committee, but it has not yet been placed on the Senate calendar.

Williams told The Spring Observer the purpose of unemployment benefits was to provide a temporary source of income to "qualified, able and ready to work individuals looking for employment".

"An individual who is using illegal drugs or abusing controlled substances illegally is not ready to return to work," he said.