Drug test bill inspires safer environment for Hoosier children
STATEHOUSE – On Monday, a bill passed out of House that would require Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Fund recipients to adhere to a random drug-examination. House Bill (HB) 1483 passed with a 78 to 17 vote and will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
“The main objective of this bill is to give individuals who rely on state-funded programs the chance to get the treatment necessary to better their lives and the lives of their families,” said Rep. Wes Culver (R-Goshen)
The bill, authored by Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) and co-authored by Rep. Culver would require a county office to administer a written or electronic substance abuse exam to all individuals receiving TANF benefits. Based on the results, if the county office considers an individual to have reasonable suspicion of illegally using a controlled substance, they are placed into a separate group for further testing. Fifty percent of that group is then randomly selected to take a drug examination.
If an individual, who is randomly selected, tests positive for illegal substance abuse, they can continue to receive their benefits if they enroll in a substance abuse treatment program. If they are unable to test clean while in treatment, their benefits will be removed for a total of three months.
After the three month period is up, they will be eligible to reapply for benefits and an additional drug test must be passed for benefit reinstatement. If the individual again fails to test clean on that exam, they will lose their TANF benefits permanently, or if they pass the test, they will receive their benefits once more.
“The bill is not meant to be punitive but incentivize individuals receiving TANF funds to make the right decisions,” said State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville). “We need to provide the best possible environment for our Hoosier children and whenever drugs are involved in a household, they are at risk. This bill would assist those facing substance abuse problems in getting help and works to establish a safer environment for our children.”
Currently, there are no programs in place or provisions to revoke TANF benefits unless eligibility changes or fraud can be proven. If enacted, HB 1483 would go into effect on July 1, 2014.
Visit www.in.gov/legislative for more information on HB 1483.
State Rep. Wes Culver serves as Chairman of the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation. He also serves as a member of the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee and the Children and Human Affairs Committee. Rep. Culver represents a portion of Elkhart County.
Rep. McMillin represents all of Union County and portions of Dearborn and Franklin counties.