The senators, all from rural Missouri, include:
The bills specifically target Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
(TANF), a federal program that provides cash assistance to the poor.
The bills generally would deny assistance to those people found to be on drugs. Two of the bills have measures that would allow children of drug users to still receive benefits through a third-party should their parents test positive for drug use.
As the Springfield News-Leader
reports today, social service advocates say the bills would do more harm than good by taking away cash that could be used to feed families. They also note that the state's drug and alcohol abuse programs currently have waiting lists numbering in the thousands.
Cold comfort, though, to senator Nolder, R - Joplin, quoted in the News-Leader
as saying: "The last thing in the world that we need is for the state of Missouri to be enablers of addictions."
A similar piece of legislation requiring drug testing for welfare recipients passed the House last year over the stern objections of state representative Don Calloway
, (D - St. Louis County), who threatened to sue the Legislature if it became law
That bill died in the Senate, though obviously not before catching the attention of senators Goodman, Stouffer, Nodler and Crowell.
A slate of Republican state senators have each introduced bills that would require certain welfare recipients in Missouri to be drug tested before receiving state aid.