Perry Calls For Mandatory Drug Screening For Welfare Recipients

Image and caption from the governor's office.

Gov. Rick Perry was joined by Sen. Tommy Williams, Rep. Brandon Creighton and other lawmakers to call for reforms to the state's welfare and unemployment benefit programs, including authorizing drug screenings for those applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.
The 2013 Texas legislative session is only weeks away. Governor Rick Perry says he agrees with other state lawmakers calling for mandatory drug screening for recipients of welfare and unemployment benefits.

“Illegal drug abuse is not something that taxpayers in Texas are ever going to approve being subsidized.” 

During a visit of an energy company in Montgomery County, Perry urged the state Legislature to pass a bill that would make it mandatory for welfare and unemployment benefit recipients to pass a drug test.

Perry says the Temporary Assistance for Needy Family program, or TANF, as well as unemployment insurance, are meant for people who are serious about finding employment.

“It’s simply not the role of the employers, who fund these benefits, to carry workers who keep themselves in an unemployable condition.”

He says under such a bill, those Texans who are temporarily out of a job and don’t use illegal drugs will continue to receive benefits. But the state will save money by refusing to fund those who wouldn’t qualify for many jobs due to drug abuse.

“Every dollar that goes to someone who uses it inappropriately is a dollar that can’t go to a Texan who needs it for housing, child care or medicine.”

State Senator Jane Nelson has pre-filed a bill to require drug screening for TANF applicants.

For the governor's entire speech.

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Florian Martin

Reporter/NewsLab Coordinator

Florian Martin is the KUHF NewsLab Coordinator. While guiding and overseeing interns, he works on his own stories and is always on call to cover breaking news and other media events...