Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients | Politics

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Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
Politics
Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Governor Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that will require people who receive government assistance to take a drug test in order to receive benefits.

"The goal of this is to make sure the taxpayers aren't paying for someone to take illegal drugs," Scott said.

The law requires every person who applies for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to pay for the drug test. If the test comes back negative, then the state will pick up the cost. If it's positive, the person loses benefits for one year.

"In some ways I think it's a good thing," agreed 36-year-old Jacksonville resident Casandra Greene.

Greene depends on public assistance to feed her eight children. She said she understands some people abuse the system and she hopes the law will make them think twice.

But Greene thinks it's too bad those people have to hurt parents like her who are trying to do right by their kids.

"A lot of people make it bad for others.  People sell their stamps," said Greene.  "They need to take care of their family."

Still Greene said coming up with the money for drug testing several times a year will be tough.

But Senator John Thrasher insists it's necessary.

"I happen to believe that that kind of a program where people are getting money from government, and in some instances are going out and frankly buying drugs with that money: that has to be stopped," Thrasher said.

Greene said it seems assumptions are being made about people who need government assistance, and while she wishes it weren't so, she'll find a way to comply.

"I have to do what I have to do for my children."

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