February 14, 2012
The Virginia Senate has passed legislation to require drug screening of welfare recipients.
Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling broke a 20-20 tie Tuesday, voting to pass the bill. It now goes to the House, which has postponed its version of the measure until 2013.
Sen. Steve Martin of Chesterfield County said his bill would ensure that welfare money is being spent to support families and children. His bill would require an initial drug screening of applicants, followed by drug testing if officials suspected illegal drug use. Anyone testing positive could lose benefits for a year.
Opponents argued the bill offends the dignity of welfare recipients and incorrectly assumes they use drugs more than the general population. They also said the state would spend more on testing than it would save.
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