Public speaks on Mississippi welfare drug tests

JACKSON – A Mississippi agency should be cautious in carrying out a new welfare drug-testing law and should not set administrative rules that could penalize an entire household for one person’s behavior, advocates for civil liberties and poor people told officials Tuesday.

More than a dozen people spoke during a hearing to gather feedback about the state law. It was supposed to take effect July 1, but that was delayed because the state requires a public comment period.

The law says applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families must answer a questionnaire and then take a drug test if their answers suggest possible drug abuse. Those who test positive would undergo treatment before they could receive cash assistance. If a person tests positive for drugs after receiving treatment, the assistance would end.

Hattiesburg American