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WV Moves to Include Drug Tests for Welfare

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A proposal to drug test some welfare applicants has cleared the West Virginia Senate.

On Tuesday, senators voted 32-2 for the three-year statewide drug-testing pilot program for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program applicants.

The bill would seek federal approval to test applicants determined to have a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use.

A caseworker would decide if someone demonstrates “qualities indicative of substance abuse.” A drug-related conviction within five years would also constitute reasonable suspicion.

Failing a first test would require substance abuse treatment, counseling and a job skills program. A second failure would spur up to a one-year benefits suspension. A third would cause a permanent ban.

Children of parents who test positive would have their benefits funneled through a third party.

The bill next moves to the House.