c Richmond Sunlight » 2013 » VIEW; substance abuse screening and assessment of public assistance applicants and recipients. (HB2009)

VIEW; substance abuse screening and assessment of public assistance applicants and recipients. (HB2009)

Introduced By

Del. Ben Cline (R-Amherst)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Substance abuse screening and assessment of public assistance applicants and recipients. Requires local departments of social services to screen each VIEW program participant to determine whether probable cause exists to believe the participant is engaged in the use of illegal drugs. The bill provides that when a screening indicates reasonable cause to believe a participant is using illegal drugs, the Department of Social Services shall require a formal substance abuse assessment of the participant, which may include drug testing. Any person who fails or refuses to participate in a screening or assessment without good cause or who tests positive for the use of illegal drugs shall be ineligible to receive TANF payments for a period of one year. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 01/09/2013 Committee
  • 01/09/2013 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13101964D
  • 01/09/2013 Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
  • 01/15/2013 Assigned HWI sub: #2
  • 01/24/2013 Subcommittee recommends incorporating (HB1789-Bell, Robert B.) (7-Y 0-N)
  • 01/25/2013 Impact statement from DPB (HB2009)
  • 02/05/2013 Left in Health, Welfare and Institutions

Comments

ACLU-VA Privacy Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

The ACLU of Virginia opposes this legislation because by requiring substance abuse screening of all Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare Program applicants, the government is treating potential recipients of public assistance as criminals, invading their privacy by conducting a search without a warrant, and denying benefits to those who may most need them.

Supporter writes:

If by stating you feel requiring substance abuse screening for welfare program applicants is the government treating recipients as criminails; you therefore would also beleive employers requiring drug screening for employment is treating all people as criminals. Substance abuse screening for program applicants would allow the program to offer substance abuse support, the most beneficial support those recipients could receive. If the person is applying for the benefits, they will know about the testing, and agree to the testing; making the need for a warrent, just as in employment applications, unnecessary. If that recipient is using illegal substances, the recipient would not be able to qualify for job oppertunities, and would therefore remain in the program pulling from resources that could be used to improve that persons chances of becoming employeed rather than enabling the person to remain one of the "most in need." Yes, we should help those who need it, including those who upon entering assistance may be using illegal substances. However, we should also be giving receipents a resource to grow strong and become his/her own provider.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

If by stating you feel requiring substance abuse screening for welfare program applicants is the government treating recipients as criminails; you therefore would also beleive employers requiring drug screening for employment is treating all people as criminals.

Private employers are free to treat all people as criminals. That is their right. Government, on the other hand, has its rights constrained in order to protect our own.