Missouri Senate OKs drug tests for welfare recipients

The Missouri Senate has endorsed legislation allowing drug tests of welfare recipients if the state suspects they’re using illegal drugs.

The Senate version of the bill would allow welfare recipients to continue receiving benefits if they complete a drug treatment program. Sen. Jolie Justus, a Kansas City Democrat, said Tuesday that the provision would help people overcome the problems that had made them ineligible.

The legislation would require that the state use a less sophisticated drug test to lower the cost from a projected $300,000 per year. It would also require that electronic benefit cards include a photo of the recipient and be renewed every three years.

The bill still needs a second Senate vote before returning to the House.

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