Welfare Recipient Drug Testing Bill On House Committee Agenda

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(Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Legislation to require drug testing of Virginia welfare recipients is on a legislative committee’s docket.

Sen. Steve Martin’s bill appears on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. The bill would require an initial drug screening of applicants, followed by drug testing if officials suspect illegal drug use. Anyone testing positive could lose benefits for a year.

Martin says the bill would ensure that welfare money is being spent to support families and children. Opponents have argued that the bill offends the dignity of welfare recipients and incorrectly assumes they use drugs more than the general population.

The Senate passed the bill when Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling broke a 20-20 tie.

A House version of the bill has been carried over until 2013.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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