Senate panel moves Hune’s bills to ensure public assistance recipients give back, are drug tested

LANSING — A Senate panel advanced legislation Wednesday to help ensure public assistance recipients are drug-free and giving back to their communities, said sponsor Sen. Joe Hune.

Senate Bills 904 and 905 (both introduced by Hune) and House Bill 5223 were approved by the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee.

HB 5223 would require public assistance applicants to submit to a drug test if their caseworker has a reasonable suspicion they may be abusing drugs. SB 904 establishes sanctions, treatment options and program reporting for individuals who test positive a second or subsequent time.

“If you require public assistance then you shouldn’t be wasting money on drugs, and hard-working Michigan taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund your habit,” said Hune, R-Hamburg Township. “We’re not asking public assistance anything not already required by most employers. Most job providers require potential employees to take a drug test and many more require employees to submit to random drug testing.”

SB 905 would require cash assistance recipients who are not exempt from the Jobs, Education and Training 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,” Hune said. “I am glad that these common sense reforms are moving forward. When it comes to drug testing, individuals using taxpayer money for assistance need to be held accountable for abusing it – period.”

The Family Independence Program requires families receiving assistance to work or undergo job training as a condition of receiving assistance.

SBs 904 and 905 and HB 5223 now advance to the full Senate for further consideration.