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story.lead_photo.caption Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale, presents Senate Bill 600, which would establish a pilot program to drug test Temporary Assistance for Needy Families beneficiaries. ( Danielle Kloap)

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would establish a pilot program to require drug testing of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program recipients.

Senate Bill 600, sponsored by Sen. Blake Johnson, R-Corning, establishes the pilot for two years and allows for "suspicion-based" drug screening and testing for applicants who are eligible for assistance.

The bill was amended in the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee last Thursday to allow the Department of Workforce Services to determine the pilot population from the program, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

Drug tests would be given if applicants are suspected of using drugs, determined by their written responses to questions.

Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale, said while presenting the bill that if someone tests positive for drugs who has children in their home, those benefits would be managed by a different person.

The bill states that if a program participant receives a positive drug test result, they are responsible for paying but if they receive a negative result, the state covers the cost.

No representatives spoke for or against the bill.

The bill passed 69-14 and heads back to the Senate for approval on the House amendment.

See Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full coverage.


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Archived Comments

  • hogfan2012
    March 30, 2015 at 4:45 p.m.

    That's a start.....

  • fjm347
    March 30, 2015 at 4:54 p.m.

    Thank Goodness the state will save a lot of money. It should have been done long ago

  • punk47
    March 30, 2015 at 4:55 p.m.

    About time

  • nwar
    March 30, 2015 at 5:33 p.m.

    Do you people read anything? Take a look at the states that have already done this. They find miniscule rates of drug use. The program will end up costing state government more in the end than it will save in welfare. Count on it.

  • matychyswbellnet
    March 30, 2015 at 5:50 p.m.

    The states that have already done this have spent more money than they saved and then found out only 1 or 2% were users

  • Wanda1965
    March 30, 2015 at 6:46 p.m.

    OMG! Who elects these idiots? Who will do the testing? DHS is stretched to the limit, ahhh, maybe Rep. Justin Harris can head this committee. I really wish the legislators took seriously their work, rather than pander to the voters who pay no attention to the issues.

  • Nodmcm
    March 30, 2015 at 9:12 p.m.

    If you don't like people receiving charity from the government, then you probably want to demean and impugn the recipients any way you can. Why not make them wear clown suits to receive the assistance, or maybe make them sing a stupid-sounding song, videotape it, and show it on cable TV? Surely there are many more ways to insult and denigrate public aid recipients, so perhaps the legislature can think up a few more. There is perhaps nothing more pleasurable than piling on people who are down and out and in need of assistance. Jesus surely would not have it any other way, now, would He?

  • SF72764
    March 31, 2015 at 8:47 a.m.

    Most states that have tried this have spent more than it saved, but if there is a "VALID" suspicion I would agree with it. Not everyone receiving the benefits. If it is a valid suspicion then perhaps do it by court order. Then again I believe even the state employees and the legislators should also be tested.

  • clell2r
    March 31, 2015 at 11:20 a.m.

    Seems to me that Republicans like stepping on people when they are down. Spend a lot of taxpayer money to find that poor people can't afford drugs. Kick them in the head too, they are just poor Arkansans.

  • Slak
    March 31, 2015 at 12:12 p.m.

    Americans love unwarranted searches. Piss test us all!!! Start with ^ those guys.