Gov. Rick Snyder Signs Bill For Drug Screening Welfare Recipients: Pilot Program Launches With Three Counties

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that allows for drug testing of adult welfare recipients in Michigan today. The legislation, Republican-proposed House Bill 4118, was accompanied by Senate Bill 275, and will instate drug testing for people on welfare suspected of using drugs. The welfare bills were among several that Michigan’s Gov. Snyder signed Friday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The legislation that Gov. Snyder signed will kick off a one-year pilot program that will begin in three Michigan counties. The counties have yet to be named. As part of the new program, any welfare recipient or applicant who is suspected of using drugs must submit to a drug test. If the recipient or applicant refuses to take the mandatory suspicion-based drug test, that Michigander will be ineligible to receive welfare benefits for six months.

If the welfare recipient or applicant tests positive for drugs, that adult will be referred to drug treatment programs. If they fail to participate in the treatment programs suggested, they will no longer be eligible to receive welfare benefits.

“We want to remove the barriers that are keeping people from getting good jobs, supporting their families and living independently,” Gov. Snyder said of the new pilot program that will be mandating suspicion-based drug tests. “This pilot program is intended to help ensure recipients get the wrap-around services they need to overcome drug addiction and lead successful lives. We’ll then have opportunity to assess effectiveness and outcomes.”

Some Michiganders oppose the two pieces of legislation that Gov. Snyder signed today. The Michigan League for Public Policy stated officially that drug testing of welfare recipients have failed to save taxpayers money in other states. Meanwhile, the Senate Fiscal Agency said that if the drug screening process were extended to all Michigan welfare participants, the program would cost between $700,000 and $3.4 million but only save between $370,000 and $3.7 million in caseloads Michigan would not be required to support, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Approximately 80,000 Michiganders receive welfare, but only around 21,000 are adults, according to media reports. The bills signed by Gov. Snyder will only permit adults to be subjected to the drug tests. Michigan implemented a similar drug testing program for welfare participants 1999, but the program was removed after the federal government found such a program “an unconstitutional and unreasonable form of search,” according to an MLIVE report.

Inquisitr reported on Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this month after Snyder signed an executive order that abolished a diverse council that was established to support local food systems and agricultural diversity. The council that was eliminated by Gov. Snyder’s executive order this month was established in 2005 by the previous governor to help cultivate a healthy food supply that especially benefited Michigan’s low-income households receiving food benefits, welfare, and subsidized school lunches.