Welfare drug testing bill passes Senate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A measure to require drug testing as a condition for receiving welfare has passed the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville passed 24-9 Wednesday.

The legislation requires new welfare applicants to undergo a special screening process. If suspicion is raised after the screening, then the applicant would be drug tested.

The proposal differs from an original version that would have required blanket testing. The state's attorney general opined that approach would be unconstitutional because it would violate applicants' rights not to be drug tested unless there is suspicion they are using drugs.

The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the House Finance Committee.

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