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

Requiring drug tests for financial aid

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>>

  • Area lane closures

    Area lane closures

    Monday, March 27 2017 3:49 AM EDT2017-03-27 07:49:19 GMT
    Texas Department of TransportationTexas Department of Transportation

    As we get ready to head back to work, here's a look at some area lane closures that could cause you some delays. 

    As we get ready to head back to work, here's a look at some area lane closures that could cause you some delays. 

  • Locals come together to help raise money for the Wildfire Memorial Benefit

    Locals come together to help raise money for the Wildfire Memorial Benefit

    Sunday, March 26 2017 11:25 PM EDT2017-03-27 03:25:50 GMT
    Tragedy swept through the Panhandle in early March leaving a trail of misfortune, loss and sadness. Soon after this fiery disbelief, the community quickly stepped in to help those who were affected. For weeks, local folks and organizations have put on fundraisers and events, and on Sunday, March 26, 2017, the community raised money through music at the GolldenLight Cafe. "I’m a big supportive of our community and there was such tragic loss and I wanted to do anything tha...
    Tragedy swept through the Panhandle in early March leaving a trail of misfortune, loss and sadness. Soon after this fiery disbelief, the community quickly stepped in to help those who were affected. For weeks, local folks and organizations have put on fundraisers and events, and on Sunday, March 26, 2017, the community raised money through music at the GolldenLight Cafe. "I’m a big supportive of our community and there was such tragic loss and I wanted to do anything tha...
  • Whataburger's 'Boots and Badges' event honors first responders

    Whataburger's 'Boots and Badges' event honors first responders

    Sunday, March 26 2017 9:47 PM EDT2017-03-27 01:47:56 GMT

    A local Whataburger tipped their hats to local first responders today.

    A local Whataburger tipped their hats to local first responders today.

Powered by Frankly