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Texas lawmakers hope to impose drug tests on welfare recipients

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Marjorie Kamys Cotera
/
Texas Tribune

The State of Texas has some of the strictest eligibility requirements in the country for welfare benefit applicants.

But, as The Texas Tribune reports, those laws might become even stricter next year. Legislators in Austin plan to try again next year to start requiring drug tests for benefit applicants. Lawmakers have tried nearly a dozen times in recent years to pass similar laws, but they’ve been stymied by opponents at every turn. But with the conservative wind at their back, legislators think next year may be their year.

As it stands now, fewer than one percent Texans are enrolled in the program that provides cash assistance for families struggling to pay for housing, food or utilities. Fifty-five thousand of those are children. Rebecca Robertson of the ACLU said, “There’s this misperception we have this large class of people taking advantage of the benefit to support drug habits.” She added, “That’s not the case."