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Somebody’s Paying for the Drug Tests: Temporary Assistance Drug Testing Passes Miss. House

Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

JACKSON, Miss.–If you get temporary assistance through the federal-state TANF program, you are one step closer to being tested for drugs, if you do not pass a written test, that is. The bill (HB49) passed the Mississippi House Wednesday, 74-46 (2 absent). Now you might be wondering who pays and how much.

The bill, which can be found on the Mississippi House website, now has to go to the state Senate, where some expect it to pass easily.

Rep. Sam Mims (R-McComb), chairman of the Public Health Committee, told News Mississippi the proposed law would help people who might be addicted to drugs. He said the written drug screening would be developed by a third party.

The cost of that screening- about a dollar and a quarter.

The next part is the drug test, which he says TANF funds would pay for. That essentially means it’s you paying for it with tax dollars.

That drug screening, depending on how it is set up, could cost from $25 to $75 per person. But, that doesn’t count the administrative costs.

The bill said the state would administer the tests.That means more tax dollars.

Both Republican and Democrat lawmakers have supported the bill. You can see how your representatives voted and read the bill for yourself here:

“The TANF program is a safety net for families in need, and adding this screening process will aid adults who are trapped in a dependency lifestyle so they can better provide for their children,” said Gov. Bryant. “I appreciate the House for passing this measure, and I look forward to working with the Senate to move the bill forward.”

Right now, a family getting TANF in Mississippi gets about $140 per month.

Just a few weeks ago a federal judge struck down a similar measure in Florida. So far no one in Mississippi is saying just how much it might cost to defend the proposed law in court if it were challenged.


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