Arkansas Senate Approves Drug Testing For Benefits Program

Mar 16, 2015

The Arkansas Senate says individuals who take certain job-training benefits or other aid for their families must be able to pass a drug test.

A bill by Sen. Blake Johnson to set up a pilot program for two years of drug testing passed on a 24-3 vote Monday. It requires the Department of Workforce Services to ask applicants questions to root out possible drug abuse. Those who give suspicious answers would be referred for actual drug testing.

The bill by the Republican from Corning would apply to about 12,000 people in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. It says all recipients in counties bordering Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee would be screened because those states have similar drug reviews.

Some senators questioned whether the testing would save the state money.