West Virginia lawmakers OK drug-testing welfare recipients

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A proposal to drug-test some West Virginia welfare applicants could soon head to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

The House voted 91-8 Wednesday for the three-year statewide drug-testing pilot program for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program applicants.

Senators previously passed it, and would need at least another vote before sending it to Tomblin.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 13 states have public assistance drug testing.

The West Virginia measure seeks federal approval to test applicants with a "reasonable suspicion" of drug use.

A caseworker would decide who demonstrates "qualities indicative of substance abuse," which include drug-related convictions within five years.

Failed tests would require substance abuse treatment, counseling and a job skills program. Subsequent failures would spur temporary and then permanent bans.

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