SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah will begin drug testing welfare applicants but its measured approach underscores how carefully states are navigating the issue amid legal challenges.
Other states have proposed drug-testing every applicant, but in Utah, only those shown through a questionnaire to have a “reasonable likelihood” that they’re using drugs will need to take an actual drug test.
And unlike other states, applicants in Utah who fail the drug test can continue receiving benefits while seeking treatment. Utah’s proposal took effect Wednesday. Tennessee also passed a drug-testing law this year but with a similar initial screening.
About two dozen states considered welfare drug-testing laws last year. Only a handful passed.
Some states that have passed blanket welfare drug-testing laws faced legal challenges amid constitutional concerns. A challenge is pending in Florida.