McMillin Says He’ll Try Again For “Drug Testing For Welfare”
By Mike Perleberg
(Brookville, Ind.) – A proposal to drug test some Indiana residents who receive a specific form of welfare died in the Indiana legislature for the third straight year last week.
However, the lawmaker pushing for the entitlement reform and author of House Bill 1351, State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), won’t be deterred. He tells Eagle 99.3 he will push for the legislation for a fourth time in the 2015 session.
“I continue to believe that there should be some measure of accountability for people who are asking for help from their neighbors. I think that’s a good measure and would like to see it go forward,” McMillin said.
HB 1351 would have created a pilot program for random drug testing of Hoosiers receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – or TANF – funds. The original bill would have required all TANF recipients to take a written test to determine their propensity for drug use. Those individuals raising suspicion of drug use on the written would have been put into a pool from which 50 percent would be randomly selected for drug testing. Those failing the test could continue to receive TANF if they sought drug treatment.
A later version of the bill approved by the Senate would have subjected only TANF recipients with past drug-related convictions to testing.
Similar proposals passed the Indiana House, but died in the state Senate in 2012 and 2013. This year’s legislation passed the House and Senate in the two above-mentioned forms. A unified bill came out of conference committee last week and passed the House on a 71-22 vote.
But, the final bill fell just short in the Senate on a 24-24 vote.
“Had it picked up two additional votes it would be sitting on the governor’s desk for signature right now,” McMillin said.
McMillin’s proposal has raised concerns from both Republicans and Democrats in the statehouse. It raises concerns of violating the U.S. Constitution’s 4th Amendment preventing unreasonable searches and seizures. Cost-conscious lawmakers worried about the projected $1.38 million price tag associated with the pilot program by the non-partisan Indiana Legislative Services Agency.
“It’s a very personal measure for some people and it’s a difficult measure for some folks to talk about. It continues to be something that is not agreed upon. I’m interested in continuing to work on it,” McMillin said.
Click on the audio player above to hear Eagle 99.3’s conversation with State Rep. Jud McMillin recapping his accomplishments in the 2014 Indiana legislative session, which ended Thursday, March 13.
State representatives McMillin and Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) will appear at a public town hall meeting in Dillsboro on Saturday, March 22 at 11:00 a.m. The meeting will be held at the Dillsboro American Legion Post, 12915 Main St, Dillsboro, Indiana 47018.