The federal rules permit drug testing as part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant.
Three states passed legislation in 2011, four states enacted laws in 2012, two states passed legislation in 2013, and three states passed legislation in 2014, bringing the total number of states to twelve.
In 2013, Kansas enacted legislation to require drug testing for applicants and recipients suspected of using controlled substances.
At least four states modified the ban to require those convicted of drug felony charges to comply with drug testing requirements as a condition of receiving benefits, including Maine, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Arkansas passed SB 123 making their drug testing program permanent.
Hawaii's proposal is for the state to study the issue.
In addition, Missouri proposed drug testing for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The federal government has indicated this goes against federal law prohibiting states from imposing additional eligibility criteria on SNAP recipients.
The state has sued the federal government seeking clarity on the federal law.
In 2009, over 20 states proposed legislation that would require drug testing as a condition of eligibility for public assistance programs. None of these proposals became law because most of the legislation was focused on “suspicionless” or “random” drug testing, which is at odds with a 2003 Michigan Court of Appeals case. Howard ruled that subjecting every welfare applicant in Michigan to a drug test without reason to believe that drugs were being used, was unconstitutional.
The proposals gained momentum beginning in the 2011 session.
All applicants and current recipients (upon redetermination of benefits) shall be screened and if reasonable suspicion of drug use, the applicant or recipient is required to take a drug test.