Coastal Bend residents give their take on drug testing for food stamps

14 April, 2018, 14:00 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Trump considers mandatory drug testing for some food stamp recipients

The Trump administration may allow states to require mandatory drug testing for food stamp recipients. Along those lines, another proposal would allow states to tighten work requirements for food stamp recipients. Should anyone who drives on government-funded roads or CEOs of companies enjoying tax loopholes be forced to undergo drug testing as well? "It's costly and cumbersome". As of 2017, only five states - Colorado, Delaware, Michigan, South Dakota, and Texas - have made a similar commitment. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states have introduced legislation to screen safety net program recipients in some way.

"Drug abuse is still associated with minorities and the poor, but there is an illusion that there are tens of thousands of folks receiving Medicaid and or food stamps and not doing nothing".

Kevin Aslanian, Executive Director Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations, says the drug testing idea would only stigmatize people who need help providing for their families. States would also be required to provide training slots for every SNAP participant who needs one. If someone is addicted to drugs, most people think they need help and support, not to have their benefits ripped away. Emails obtained by the AP, however, "suggest that a plan could be forthcoming", the news outlet noted.

The plan would apply to able-bodied people who do not have dependents and are applying for certain jobs, such as operating heavy machinery, the official said.

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That's because the court said no, you couldn't do blanket testing of everyone getting food stamps. In 2016, 12 governors asked the federal government for permission to drug test their state's SNAP recipients, but no explicit permission had been granted.

Opponents like Ed Bolen, senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, told the AP it the proposal teeters the thin line of legality because states technically aren't allowed to use drug tests as a condition of eligibility for the program. In December, The New Food Economy's H. Claire Brown reported on Walker's decision to move forward with drug-testing requirements in Wisconsin, even though the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which funds and oversees the program nationally, had blocked him in the past. "This is kind of a different bucket".

While the proposed changes to one of the nation's largest anti-poverty programs are still controversial, they are more moderate than what the Trump administration had proposed earlier in the year and have something that could appease conservatives and liberals.

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