Haslam Signs Welfare Drug Testing Bill

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to students this week at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville.

Governor Bill Haslam has signed a measure that requires some welfare recipients to pass a drug test. The Administration was initially concerned with whether the state could put such restrictions on a federal program.

All new recipients of government assistance would go through a screening process, and those who raise suspicion would have to pass a drug test that they pay for.

Governor Haslam says he understands questions of fairness, that poor people – even those who pass – would be out the testing fee.

“I think that the flip concern from people who were pushing the bill – obviously – is, ‘are people who are getting public assistance using it for things that we don’t want them to be using public money for?’ So that’s why we want to be involved working through the rules of it and making sure it was constitutional.”

Haslam says he’s comfortable with the bill because the Department of Human Services will get to come up with rules spelling out exactly how the drug tests take place. The Attorney General also has to weigh in on whether the law is constitutional.

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