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Mandating public

Applicants who refuse the drug screen or test are ineligible for assistance.

In 2017, the state made the program permanent through SB 123.

Wisconsin included a provision in the 2015 budget bill (SB 21) to drug test individuals participating in the Wisconsin Works and the Transform Milwaukee Jobs program and work experience programs for non-custodial parents.

In 2009, over 20 states proposed legislation that would require drug testing as a condition of eligibility for public assistance programs. None of these proposals became law because most of the legislation was focused on “suspicionless” or “random” drug testing, which is at odds with a 2003 Michigan Court of Appeals case. Howard ruled that subjecting every welfare applicant in Michigan to a drug test without reason to believe that drugs were being used, was unconstitutional.

The proposals gained momentum beginning in the 2011 session.

The federal government has indicated this goes against federal law prohibiting states from imposing additional eligibility criteria on SNAP recipients.

The state has sued the federal government seeking clarity on the federal law.

If the caseworker has reason to believe the applicant is abusing drugs, a drug test will be ordered.

Applicants who test positive and attend substance abuse treatment, counseling and a job skills program can continue to receive benefits.

The federal rules permit drug testing as part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant.

In recent years, nearly all states have proposed some form of drug testing or screening for applicants.

Legislative proposals: At least 17 states had proposals in 2016 to address substance abuse and drug testing for welfare programs.