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>>

  • Single car wreck kills one man

    Single car wreck kills one man

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-31 03:59:01 GMT
    One man is dead after a single car wreck on I-40.Police say Aaron Clay Crawford, 26, died after he was ejected from a vehicle Saturday afternoon.
    One man is dead after a single car wreck on I-40.Police say Aaron Clay Crawford, 26, died after he was ejected from a vehicle Saturday afternoon.
  • One dead after motorcycle wreck

    One dead after motorcycle wreck

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-08-31 03:58:14 GMT
    Around 3 p.m. Saturday, a man was pronounced dead after a wreck involving two motorcycles. Police say two men were traveling south on the Canyon E-way near the Hillside exit when one of the motorcycles stuck the back of a Toyota Camry. One male killed and the other motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital. Both the driver and the passenger in the Toyota were also taken to the hospital with minor injures.
    Around 3 p.m. Saturday, a man was pronounced dead after a wreck involving two motorcycles. Police say two men were traveling south on the Canyon E-way near the Hillside exit when one of the motorcycles stuck the back of a Toyota Camry. One male killed and the other motorcycle driver was taken to the hospital. Both the driver and the passenger in the Toyota were also taken to the hospital with minor injures.
  • Community helps support para-athletics in Amarillo

    Community helps support para-athletics in Amarillo

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:43 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:43:42 GMT
    Back in February we introduced you to Emilee Hibish, now a Senior at River Road High School. For years she was forced to sit on the side line watching her friends compete in sports because she was wheelchair bound. 
    Back in February we introduced you to Emilee Hibish, now a Senior at River Road High School. For years she was forced to sit on the side line watching her friends compete in sports because she was wheelchair bound.