Drug test proposal clears first hurdle in Mississippi - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Drug test proposal clears first hurdle in Mississippi

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The Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 49 by a 74-46 vote. The Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 49 by a 74-46 vote.

(WMC-TV) - A proposal to drug test some Mississippians applying for welfare cleared the first hurdle after a four-hour debate on Wednesday.

The Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 49 by a 74-46 vote.

Next, the bill will head to the Senate. The legislation will require any adult in Mississippi applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) to answer a questionnaire. Then based on those questions, he or she may have to take a drug test.

Thousands of families in Mississippi rely on welfare to help get their families through.

"People try to take advantage but they should be for people who actually need them," said resident William May.

The changes would apply only to TANF.

"If my tax money is going to support somebody, and they're spending money on drugs, then that's just not right," said resident Sam Barkley.

Some question if the idea would even work, saying anybody could lie on a questionnaire.

Others say it may help parents, who are drug abusers, get clean and provide for their families.

"It's definitely about them trying to protect the taxpayer's money, but it's also a good thing to get these parents off drugs though," said May.

In a statement Governor Phil Bryant said in part quote:

"The TANF program is a safety net for families in need, and adding this screening process will aid adults who are trapped in a dependency lifestyle so they can better provide for their children. I appreciate the House for passing this measure, and I look forward to working with the Senate to move the bill forward."

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