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Michigan Governor signs welfare drug testing bill into law

Critics calling it wasteful and blacklisting

Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan on Friday signed a law that creates a drug-testing program for welfare recipients who are suspected of using drugs. Republicans backed both the House and Senate bill. This program will run for a year in three counties. Under the program, welfare recipients or applicants suspected of drug use will be required to take a substance abuse test. Refusal to take the test will result in being ineligible for benefits for six months. Recipients who test positive would lead to referrals to treatment programs. Benefits can be restored after a person passes a substance abuse test.

The program received final approval this month; however, critics argued that it would blacklist individuals who are struggling and have not been shown to use drugs at any greater rate than other residents do. The Michigan League for Public Policy claim that similar programs in other states have not saved taxpayers money. The ACLU decry the program saying it would promote stereotypes of the poor and discriminate against a group that doesn’t use drugs more than the general population. The Senate Fiscal Agency said if the program extended to all Michigan welfare participants it would cost the state between 700,000 and 3.4 million dollars.


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