House committee wants welfare recipients to pass drug tests, ACLU objects

Feb 17, 2012

A Wyoming House committee recommended approval of a bill that would require drug testing before someone can receive state aid. 

Riverton Representative David Miller says the bill would allow the state to take away benefits for a month if someone tested positive.  Miller says he is trying to encourage users to get drug treatment. 

Linda Burt of the American Civil Liberties Union says such bills have been declared unconstitutional in other states.

"I know the motivation to bring drug treatment to people is a wonderful motivation and we all want to do that and we all want children to grow up in homes that are drug free.  But there are much more effective ways to do that.  Punishing people is not the way to do that."

Burt says she is also concerned that the bill appears to be targeting women because they are generally the one's who receive benefits.  It now heads to the House floor.