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Missouri House endorses drug tests for welfare benefits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | The Missouri House has given initial approval to legislation requiring drug tests for some welfare recipients.

The bill would direct the Department of Social Services to set up a drug-testing program for work-eligible welfare applicants or recipients. It would apply only to those for whom there is “reasonable cause” to believe they are using illegal drugs.

Some Democrats objected to the bill, but many ultimately voted with majority Republicans Tuesday in giving it preliminary approval 109-45. Another vote is needed to send the bill to the Senate.

The drug tests would apply to the cash-aid program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

An appeals court previously struck down a Michigan law requiring drug testing for welfare recipients.

But supporters of the Missouri proposal say it is more narrowly tailored.

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