VIEW; substance abuse screening and assessment of public assistance applicants and recipients. (SB721)

Introduced By

Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Substance abuse screening and assessment of public assistance applicants and recipients. Requires local departments of social services to screen each Virginia Initiative for Employment Not Welfare (VIEW) program participant to determine whether probable cause exists to believe the participant is engaged in the use of illegal substances. The bill provides that when a screening indicates reasonable cause to believe a participant is using illegal substances, the local department of social services shall require a formal substance abuse assessment of the participant, which may include drug testing. In cases in which drug testing is required, the cost of testing shall be paid by the Department of Social Services. 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 substances shall be ineligible to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) payments for a period of one year, unless he enters into and complies with the requirements of a drug treatment program; however, an individual has one opportunity during the subsequent 12-month period to comply with the screening, assessment, or treatment requirements and be reinstated to eligibility for TANF benefits. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


12/03/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13
12/03/2012Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100403D
12/03/2012Referred to Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services
01/17/2013Impact statement from DPB (SB721)
01/18/2013Reported from Rehabilitation and Social Services with amendments (8-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
01/18/2013Rereferred to Finance
01/23/2013Impact statement from DHCD (SB0721)
01/29/2013Committee substitute printed 13104703D-S1
01/29/2013Reported from Finance with substitute (10-Y 5-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2013Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/31/2013Impact statement from DPB (SB721S1)
01/31/2013Read second time
01/31/2013Reading of amendments waived
01/31/2013Committee amendments rejected
01/31/2013Reading of substitute waived
01/31/2013Committee substitute agreed to 13104703D-S1
01/31/2013Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB721S1
02/01/2013Impact statement from DHCD (SB0721)
02/01/2013Passed by for the day
02/04/2013Read third time and defeated by Senate (19-Y 20-N) (see vote tally)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 3 clips in all, totaling 15 minutes.


stephen writes:

This bill would never stand up to court review.

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.