Alabama is following in the footsteps of Floridas new law, which requires welfare applicants to take drug tests. Some local taxpayers agree with that.
For those that do need it, they should have it, said Mobile college student Charles Marsh. But everybody aint doing it for the right purpose.
Why would you want to give your money to someone on drugs? said Mobile resident Donna Marsh. I dont want drugs, I dont smoke crack, and I dont buy crack. Why would I want my money buying crack?
Representative Kerry Rich is working on a bill requiring drug testing for people on welfare who have a felony or drug conviction.
This is just something that I feel like is long overdue, said Representative Rich. The taxpayers are helping support their drug habit, and I dont think thats a good idea. I dont think its the responsibility of the taxpayers to do that.
But the Director of Mobile Countys Department of Human Resources wants to know how the state is going to pay for those services.
If we had to drug test everyone, thats a significant amount of money that we really dont have on hand to do, said Rose Johnson. I think we need to be moving offensively against drugs any way we can, but in a way that makes sense and that were able to afford.
Director Rose Johnson hopes Alabama lawmakers will bring experts like herself into the conversation before sending a bill to the legislature early next year.
According to the latest numbers from the Department of Human Resources, nearly 55-thousand Alabamians are receiving welfare. In June, the average family on temporary assistance received less than $190 a month.