NC Senate OKs Drug Testing Requirement For Welfare

Some North Carolina legislators want to require applicants for North Carolina's cash and worker training welfare program to undergo drug tests to qualify and pay for it themselves.

The Senate agreed 35-15 Monday night to a bill that would demand testing for applicants and recipients for the state's Work First program.

Those who pass the screening would be reimbursed in future assistance payments. Those who fail could reapply in a year after completing a treatment program at their own expense and passing a test.

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Ralph Hise of Mitchell County says illegal drugs are a scourge and it's not right to give public cash payments to those who abuse drugs.

Democrats call the bill unconstitutional and say applicants already are being assessed.

The measure goes to the House.