Local legislator reacts to drug testing of TANF applicants

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced the implementation of a new policy last week that requires those applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, to complete a drug screening.

The new policy requires applicants to complete a questionnaire to see if there is reasonable suspicion of drug use. 

Those suspected of illegal drug use will be sent for testing, and if they test positive, they will be referred to substance abuse treatment and job skills programs. 

Delegate Shawn Fluharty says he is willing to see how the new policy plays out, but he thinks those people creating the policies should also be screened.

“I find it a bit ridiculous that legislators think it’s OK to mandate drug testing on individuals but not themselves. Why aren’t legislators included? So I’ll be fighting again this session with my bill to see that it gets passed and West Virginia becomes a leader and says that if you want to serve in public office, if you want to serve in the legislature, you need to pass a drug test,” said Fluharty. 

Those applicants who are tested but whose results come back negative will not have to do anything further.

Those enrolled in TANF receive financial assistance, as well as services like job search support and child care assistance. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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