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(StopTheDrugWar) A bill that would have required Hoosier State welfare recipients to undergo drug testing based on a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use was killed Friday after the state Senate refused to act on it. The bill had already passed the House, but died when Senate and House negotiators could not agree on what to do about payments to children whose parents had tested positive for drugs.
The bill, House Bill 1483, would have required the Department of Family and Social Services to create a drug abuse assessment program for welfare recipients, with those screenings indicated a likelihood of drug use subject to drug testing. People who tested positive would not be immediately subject to loss of benefits, but would have to successfully pass two consecutive drug tests within 40 to 60 days to continue receiving benefits. If the person does not provide two clean drug tests within four months, he or she would lose benefits for three months. After three months, the individual could again apply for benefits, but would have to pass a drug test.
As with other states seeking to avoid constitutional challenges by using the “reasonable suspicion” standard instead of mandatory, suspicionless drug testing, Indiana legislators used an expansive definition of the term. “Reasonable suspicion” could be derived from having a prior drug conviction, the results of the drug screening inventory, or having failed a previous drug test.