Governor Mary Fallin recently signed into law House Bill 2388, requiring the state Department of Human Services to screen adults for drug-use who apply to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
If the applicant refuses a drug test or is found to be using drugs, they would be denied benefits.
Applicants who test positive for illegal drug use and undergo substance abuse treatment can reapply for benefits six months after the date of their denial. Child-only cases and underage parents would be exempt from drug screenings. The bill also allows for an alternative payee to be named when a parent has been denied benefits.
“House Bill 2388 will help ensure welfare checks are not being used to pay for drugs,” Fallin said. “Hard working taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to subsidize drug abuse, and this bill will help to ensure they are not.”
“Additionally, HB 2388 helps to preserve the mission of state-funded welfare – to provide a social safety net helping the unemployed and needy get back on their feet, find work and support their families. Unfortunately, drug abuse prevents many recipients of welfare from achieving any of these goals. Drug addiction and illegal drug use contribute to child abuse and child neglect. They also make it difficult to find and hold a job. For all these reasons it is important for drug users and those with substance abuse problems to seek treatment rather than simply being handed a check from Oklahoma taxpayers.”
The bill was sponsored by Senator David Holt and Representatives Guy Liebmann, John Bennett, Sean Roberts, Lisa Billy and Steve Vaughn.