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Mandating public

Legislative proposals: At least 18 states introduced proposals that would require drug screening or testing for public assistance applicants and/or recipients in 2015.

Hawaii's proposal is for the state to study the issue.

In addition, Missouri proposed drug testing for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Drug Testing for Individuals Convicted of Drug Felonies The 1996 welfare law bars states from providing TANF assistance to persons convicted of a felony for possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs.

However, it allows states to opt out of the ban or modify the period for which the ban applies.

The department shall identify the screening tool and develop a plan for funding the program and report to the General Assembly on the results of the program.

The law shall take effect no later than December 31, 2015 and expire after two years unless otherwise extended by the legislature.

At least 15 states have passed legislation regarding drug testing or screening for public assistance applicants or recipients (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.) Some apply to all applicants; others include specific language that there is a reason to believe the person is engaging in illegal drug activity or has a substance use disorder; others require a specific screening process.

In addition, Wisconsin included a provision in its 2015 budget bill to drug test certain individuals participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training program.

The federal rules permit drug testing as part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant.

In recent years, nearly all states have proposed some form of drug testing or screening for applicants.

In 2009, over 20 states proposed legislation that would require drug testing as a condition of eligibility for public assistance programs. None of these proposals became law because most of the legislation was focused on “suspicionless” or “random” drug testing, which is at odds with a 2003 Michigan Court of Appeals case. Howard ruled that subjecting every welfare applicant in Michigan to a drug test without reason to believe that drugs were being used, was unconstitutional.