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Indiana Senate panel approves welfare drug tests

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 6:26 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana Senate panel has approved a requirement that some welfare recipients pass drug tests before they can receive benefits from the state.

However, the current version of the measure is far less sweeping than what supporters originally sought. The measure approved Thursday would only apply to welfare recipients who had previously been convicted of a drug crime.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure Thursday.

Supporters of the measure say it's needed to ensure welfare recipients are not converting benefits into money for buying drugs. But opponents have said the measure violates the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

A federal judge struck down Florida's drug-testing law in December, saying there was no evidence to show widespread drug abuse among welfare recipients.