Requiring drug tests for financial aid - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Requiring drug tests for financial aid

Posted: Updated:

Amarillo, TX - Hundreds of thousands of dollars could soon be available for Texas, if drug screening becomes mandatory for those who receive government assistance.

Thousands of Texans would be subject to drug testing if Senate Bill 11 becomes law. Its purpose is to discourage drug abuse rather than enable it. It would make sure people receiving about $200 a month through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program are not drug users.

Amarillo resident Angie Meraz says, "Either they're just supporting their habits or, you know, not doing what they're supposed to do with it. And it's not fair." Area resident Shawnna Kempf says, "I don't do drugs personally. But it's just for the fact of, you know, other people that do, or if not, or whatever. I don't think that they deserve to be tested."

Kempf says if the person is not using the money from the program to buy drugs, then they shouldn't be tested. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says every applicant would have to go through a drug screening. Spokesperson Linda Edwards Gockle says, "We have determined that we can develop the initial screening assessment tool at no cost. And that the drug testing itself we're projecting will cost about $300 thousand dollars a year." But the bill could save Texas more than twice that amount by not granting aid to those who no longer qualify.

If the person has a felony drug conviction, had tested positive in a drug exam before, or the assessment shows signs of controlled substance use, a drug test is mandatory. If the results are positive, the person is disqualified for a year, but can reapply after 6 months upon completion or enrollment in a drug treatment program.

However, children would never lose benefits under this bill, HHSC would make sure the funds are used appropriately. The Texas Senate and House still need to approve it before any changes take place.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
  • Today's Local News HeadlinesToday's Local NewsMore>>

  • APD searching for stabbing suspects

    APD searching for stabbing suspects

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:53 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:53:21 GMT
    Amarillo Police are looking for three suspects who are accused of stabbing a man early Sunday morning. They say the victim was at the Sanborn park around 2:30 a.m. when he was approached by the suspects. Officials say the victim was stabbed twice in the abdomen and was transported to the hospital. If you know anything about this incident, call Amarillo Crime Stoppers at 374-4400.
    Amarillo Police are looking for three suspects who are accused of stabbing a man early Sunday morning. They say the victim was at the Sanborn park around 2:30 a.m. when he was approached by the suspects. Officials say the victim was stabbed twice in the abdomen and was transported to the hospital. If you know anything about this incident, call Amarillo Crime Stoppers at 374-4400.
  • Alibates celebrates National Park Week

    Alibates celebrates National Park Week

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:47 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:47:35 GMT
    There are over 400 national parks in America, one of which is here in our area.This week, the Alibates Flint Quarries National Park is celebrating national park week. Until the 27th, you're invited to stop by our local national park where you can hike, camp and enjoy the wild life. On the 22nd, national parks are honoring Earth Day. They encourage you to stop by and help pick up trash to help keep our parks beautiful.
    There are over 400 national parks in America, one of which is here in our area.This week, the Alibates Flint Quarries National Park is celebrating national park week. Until the 27th, you're invited to stop by our local national park where you can hike, camp and enjoy the wild life. On the 22nd, national parks are honoring Earth Day. They encourage you to stop by and help pick up trash to help keep our parks beautiful.
  • Large donation to help local Ronald McDonald House

    Large donation to help local Ronald McDonald House

    Volunteers from Kohl's donated over a thousand dollars to the Ronald McDonald house of Amarillo, Saturday afternoon.
    Volunteers from Kohl's donated over a thousand dollars to the Ronald McDonald house of Amarillo, Saturday afternoon.