Senate postpones decision on drug-testing welfare recipients

Feb 29, 2012

A Senate committee has postponed action on a bill that would require the state to drug test people who receive welfare benefits. 

Representative David Miller wants to suspend benefits up to a month for anyone who tests positive. 

Committee Chair Charles Scott noted that Wyoming has very strong welfare regulations, and he said there is very little chance of drug problems with any recipients in the state.  But the committee still wants more time to discussthe measure. 

That frustrates Linda Burt of the Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“As long as there is suspicion-less drug testing, the bill is unconstitutional.  If they want to put a probable cause in there that would be fine, if they want to put some due process protections that would also be fine.  But given the testimony I was very dishearten that the bill was simply not voted down, because that’s what should have happened.”

During testimony, the Wyoming Department of Family Services also contended that the state has strong welfare laws, saying that those in the system get the least amount of benefits in the country.