As of the 24th of March 2017, there are at least 15 states that have passed on the legislation regarding the drug screening or testing for those public assistance recipients or applicants. These states include Wisconsin, West Virginia, Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan, Kansas, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Arkansas, and Alabama.
Some of these states apply only to applicants, while others include among the particular language in which reason is there to believe in the individual that is engaging in illegal drug activity or that they have a disorder of substance use. Others in this regard require specific processes in screening.
Added to that, the state of Wisconsin added a provision for their 2015 budget bill regarding the drug test. This is about certain individuals that that are engaging in employment and training program by the SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
It has been indicated by the federal government against the federal law in which it prohibits the states from pressing added eligibility criteria towards the SNAP recipients. The state also sued the federal government in seeking clarity regarding the federal law. Some of these are as followed below.
The law of the state of Florida was halted by the district judge. A final judgment was issued by the District Court back in December 2013. It permanently put an end on the reinforcement of law wherein it stated to have violated the constitutional protections against the unreasonable searches. On the 2nd of December 2014, the ruling was upheld by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The bill of the state of Tennessee needed the department in developing a plan for testing based on suspicion, including a report of its recommendations towards the legislature which was to be done in January 2014. The state then started on the testing program by July 2014.
As of March 2017, there are at least 20 states that have proposed a legislation wherein it requires some form of screening or testing on drugs for the recipients of public assistance, which is also effective this year. The states include Vermont, Texas, South Carolina, Rhode Island, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Nebraska, Mississippi, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maine, Kentucky, Illinois, and Hawaii.
Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Florida already have proposals wherein it will test the applicants that were convicted of offenses that are related to drugs. The proposal made by the state of Arizona only applies to applicants for nutrition assistance that have been convicted of crimes related to drugs.
For the 2017 legislation, Arkansas has passed on the SB 123, which makes the drug testing program in the state permanent.
Arguments on these proposals
Opponents have showered their criticisms regarding these laws as they can be more costly than what they can save.
These drug tests were promoted by some of the Republican lawmakers, making it a hypocritical approach.
The reason for this is because it supports the government paternalism. Executives from the CLASP, a non-profit group, had made statements suggesting that the laws implemented will have some chilling effect on the willingness for the current recipients of the welfare in admitting themselves for the drug treatment.