Bills To Revoke Welfare Based On Drug Testing And School Absences Clear State House

May 1, 2013

A pair of bills that would revoke welfare benefits from some Michigan families has cleared the state House.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher reports, the legislation has support on both sides of the aisle.

One bill would let the state cut cash assistance payments to families with kids who persistently miss school. The state Department of Human Services is already doing this – the bill would make the policy state law.

Many Republicans and Democrats say it’s a good way to promote school attendance in poor areas.

But Democratic Representative Jeff Irwin is worried some abusive parents might be keeping their kids out of school to avoid getting turned in to the authorities.

“Now here comes the state Legislature applying a penalty to that whole family,”  he says. “And how do you think that parent is going to mete out that penalty on their kids, these same kids that they’re already abusing.”

Another measure would allow suspicion-based drug testing of welfare recipients.

   Both bills now go to the state Senate.