W.Va. Senate rejects amendment for TANF drug testing bill | News

CHARLESTON — A invoice to proceed the pilot program to drug check TANF recipients can be on third studying Wednesday within the West Virginia Senate.

The Senate rejected an modification provided by Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, on Tuesday that will have eliminated marijuana from the record of drugs examined for. The state Division of Well being and Human Sources testified final week out of 131 constructive checks since 2017, 61 have been for marijuana.

Senate Invoice 387 would lengthen the drug testing pilot program till 2022 and permits DHHR to proceed this system if they need. DHHR Deputy Secretary Jeremiah Samples stated the division felt they wanted extra time to guage the worth of this system after the pandemic.

Began in 2017, the pilot program checks grownup recipients of Short-term Help for Needy Households. Adults will need to have a baby to obtain TANF. Some kinship households additionally obtain TANF to complement foster care reimbursements.

Samples stated 1,068 checks have been carried out for the reason that begin, with 131 positives. The checks price about $30,000 complete.

As soon as an individual checks constructive, they need to efficiently full an dependancy remedy program to once more obtain TANF funds. Just one individual has accomplished a remedy program, Samples stated. Most individuals are by no means heard from once more.

There have been 91 referrals to Youngster Protecting Providers by way of this system.

Samples stated together with getting individuals dependancy remedy and defending youngsters, this system’s purpose is to make sure DHHR is offering “clear” staff to employers. TANF recipients should work or be searching for work.

These in opposition to the drug testing program say it takes cash away from youngsters. Whereas the invoice permits a baby’s TANF cost to be transferred to both a relative or another person, Matt Kerner, govt director of Alternative Home in Buckhannon, West Virginia, stated eradicating funding from a household nonetheless impacts a baby.

“I don’t understand how in any manner it couldn’t influence a baby,” Kerner informed the Well being Committee. “We noticed it with SNAP. It wasn’t just like the individual with a conviction wasn’t consuming.”

On Tuesday, Stollings moved to take away marijuana from the testing record. He stated an individual might exit of state, smoke legally and are available again to nonetheless check constructive even a month later. In his coaching as a doctor, he stated he’s taught to not check for marijuana earlier than prescribing some drugs due to the prevalence of false positives. Authorized CBD may even convey a few false constructive.

Senate Well being chair Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, stated this system was federally accepted as is and has been operating as is since 2017.

The invoice is now up for passage at its subsequent studying.

Reporter Taylor Caught could be reached at tstuck@hdmediallc.com. Comply with her on Twitter and Fb @TaylorStuckHD.

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