Friday, February 17, 2012

House Bill 557 Would Require Drug Testing of TANF Applicants & Recipients


Mississippi House District 97 Representative, Mr. Sam C Mims has introduced House Bill 557 during the 2012 Regular Session.   The description as introduced would require TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) applicants and recipients to take a drug test as a condition of receiving benefits.  The General Bill and State Constitutional Amendment is currently active.  The bill requires no additional revenue but requires a majority vote to pass.  The effective date of the bill would be July 1, 2012.  The bill is currently referred to the Public Health and Human Services Committee for discussion. 


Additional information can be seen by clicking on the following links:






The Title is as Follows: AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT APPLICANTS FOR AND RECIPIENTS OF TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE TO NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF) BENEFITS SHALL BE REQUIRED TO TAKE A DRUG TEST TO DETERMINE THEIR ELIGIBILITY TO RECEIVE OR CONTINUE RECEIVING THE BENEFITS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE DRUG TEST SHALL BE TAKEN AT THE TIME OF OR AFTER APPLICATION FOR TANF BENEFITS AND ONCE EACH YEAR WHILE THE RECIPIENT IS RECEIVING TANF BENEFITS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE COST OF THE DRUG TEST IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PERSON WHO IS TESTED; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO TESTS POSITIVE FOR A DRUG IN A DRUG TEST CONDUCTED UNDER THIS ACT IS INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE TANF BENEFITS FOR ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE OF THE POSITIVE DRUG TEST, UNLESS THE PERSON MEETS CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS; TO PROVIDE THAT IF THE PERSON TESTS POSITIVE FOR A DRUG AGAIN, HE OR SHE IS INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE TANF BENEFITS FOR THREE YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF THE SECOND POSITIVE DRUG TEST, UNLESS THE PERSON MEETS CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS; TO PROVIDE FOR NOTICE OF THE DRUG TESTING REQUIREMENT TO EACH APPLICANT FOR TANF BENEFITS AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION, AND TO EACH RECIPIENT OF TANF BENEFITS ONCE EACH YEAR WHILE THE RECIPIENT IS RECEIVING BENEFITS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE NOTICE MUST ADVISE THE PERSON THAT A DRUG TEST WILL BE CONDUCTED AS A CONDITION OF RECEIVING OR CONTINUING TO RECEIVE TANF BENEFITS, AND THAT THE PERSON MUST BEAR THE COST OF THE TEST; TO PROVIDE THAT IF THE PERSON TESTS NEGATIVE FOR A DRUG, THE AMOUNT OF THE INITIAL TANF BENEFIT OR THE TANF BENEFIT FOR THE NEXT MONTH SHALL BE INCREASED BY THE AMOUNT PAID BY THE PERSON FOR THE DRUG TEST; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO TESTS POSITIVE FOR A DRUG AND IS DEEMED INELIGIBLE FOR TANF BENEFITS AS A RESULT MAY REAPPLY FOR THOSE BENEFITS AFTER SIX MONTHS IF THE PERSON CAN DOCUMENT THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROGRAM OFFERED BY A LICENSED SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROVIDER THAT IS APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES; TO PROVIDE THAT IF A PARENT OR CARETAKER RELATIVE IS DEEMED INELIGIBLE FOR TANF BENEFITS AS A RESULT OF FAILING A DRUG TEST CONDUCTED UNDER THIS ACT, THE DEPENDENT CHILD'S ELIGIBILITY FOR TANF BENEFITS IS NOT AFFECTED AND AN APPROPRIATE PROTECTIVE PAYEE SHALL BE DESIGNATED TO RECEIVE TANF BENEFITS ON BEHALF OF THE CHILD; TO AMEND SECTION 43-17-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING PROVISIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.