Republican Rep. Jeff Farrington of Utica introduced a bill Tuesday calling for drug tests to be used to determine eligibility for welfare benefits.
House Bill No. 5223 states, "If an applicant tests positive for substance abuse, the applicant is ineligible to receive Family Independence Program Assistance benefits under this act."
The bill also states that even if an applicant passes the test, the cost of administering the test should be deducted from their first welfare check.
"Welfare benefits are for those who truly need temporary assistance," Farrinton said. "After recipients leave the welfare rolls and re-enter the workforce, many of them will be required at the job application stage to complete a drug screening before gaining employment - new welfare recipients should follow this same principle."
Lawmakers in many states have proposed drug tests for recipients of the Family Independence Program benefits, or other government assistance programs. However, Florida just enacted the law this year. That's the first time a law like this has been passed in over a decade.
"To be clear, this is not an attack on the overall base of welfare recipients," Farrington said. "No matter how many - or few - recipients test positive for using illegal drugs, Michigan taxpayers should not have to contribute their hard earned dollars to those who choose an illegal lifestyle. It's time we reformed the welfare system to make sure our limited resources are spent on those who are truly in need."