Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed off on a new administrative rule Tuesday that will require drug testing for welfare recipients starting next week.
The rule was written by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and requires testing for “certain able-bodied adults” receiving welfare benefits — such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, or job training — to pass a drug test, according to The Capital Times.
Walker said in a statement, “Our 2015-17 State Budget implements common-sense reforms that put in place drug screening, testing, and treatment mechanisms, so we can continue strengthening Wisconsin’s workforce.
Employers across the state frequently tell me they have good-paying jobs available in high-demand fields, but need their workers to be drug-free. These important entitlement reforms will help more people find family-supporting jobs, moving them from government dependence to true independence.
At least 13 states have passed provisions similar to Wisconsin’s, according to the National Conference of States Legislatures. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.
Eighteen other states have proposed legislation requiring some form of drug testing for those receiving public assistance.
A federal judge halted enforcement of Florida’s law, ruling it a violation of constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed a lawsuit in federal court in July against federal officials who are seeking to block implementation of the program in the Badger State. The state budget, passed last spring, made provision for drug testing for welfare recipients, which the new administrative rule seeks to implement.
Should welfare recipients have to pass a drug test to get taxpayer money?
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.