In the past eight years, Texas lawmakers have tried nearly a dozen times to pass a law requiring drug screenings or testing for applicants for state welfare benefits. Ahead of next year’s legislative session, supporters are hopeful momentum is finally on their side.
As of October, fewer than 63,000 Texans — less than 1 percent of the state’s population — were enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that provides cash assistance for families struggling to pay for housing, food or utilities. Among the beneficiaries, 54,247 are children.
While the Lone Star State already has some of the strictest eligibility requirements in the country, Republican lawmakers have been determined to take advantage of a federal provision that would allow them to drug screen applicants and ban those who fail drug tests.