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NC Senate panel backs drug screening for welfare

RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina Senate Republicans are pushing a new bill requiring drug screening for welfare applicants and current recipients who reapply for assistance.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the proposal Tuesday that would require applicants to undergo drug screening at their own cost. They would be paid back if they tested negative for controlled substances.
Current law requires welfare recipients with diagnosed substance abuse problems to participate in a treatment program and submit to drug testing to continue qualifying for benefits.
Democrats and advocacy groups opposed the changes, arguing they unfairly target poor people when they need help the most. They say similar policies in other states haven’t worked.
Another Republican-sponsored bill requiring criminal background checks for welfare recipients and applicants is scheduled for a full House vote Tuesday.

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