Senate bills to ensure public assistance recipients give back; are drug tested; pass committee

Legislation was passed Tuesday out of committee to help ensure public assistance recipients are giving back to their communities, said sponsor Sen. Joe Hune.

Senate Bills 275 and 276, both introduced by Hune, both of which were in the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services, were originally SBs 904 and 905, introduced last fall.

SB 276 would require cash assistance recipients who are not exempt from the Partnership Accountability Training Hope (PATH) program to participate in community service.

“People benefitting from public assistance should do something to give back to the community that is providing them with a helping hand, and that is exactly what my bill does,” said Hune, R-Hamburg. “I am glad that these common sense reforms passed out of committee today.” 

Hune’s other measure, SB 275, would require public assistance applicants to submit to a drug test if their caseworker has a reasonable suspicion they may be abusing drugs. This bill is tied with Representative Farrington’s House Bill 4118, both of which passed out of committee.

“When it comes to drug testing, individuals using taxpayer money for assistance need to be held accountable for abusing it – period,” said Hune. “I am extremely pleased both of these measures passed out of committee today and look forward to them progressing toward the governor’s desk.”

Both bills are now waiting for vote in the full senate.