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Drug Users And Parents Of Truant Kids Could Lose Welfare Benefits

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Drugs and drug paraphernalia are seen in this file photo. REUTERS/Bor Slana
Drugs and drug paraphernalia are seen in this file photo. REUTERS/Bor Slana

LANSING, MI (WTVB) - The Michigan House passed two bills Wednesday that aim to make sure that individuals on public assistance aren't using drugs and that their kids are showing up for school. 

One measure calls for state efforts to be codified to make sure the children of welfare recipients aren't repeatedly missing schools. If the children were truant, the families could lose their cash assistance under the legislation. Supporters stress that education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Opponents argued the bill was more punitive than helpful and that it doesn't address the true barriers facing a student with attendance problems. 

The other bill would establish a suspicion-based drug-screening program for family independence program recipients. Individuals who tested positive for illegal drug use would be referred to a substance abuse coordination agency. If they tested positive again, they would lose their benefits. Some of those against the legislation say they believe government should not be gathering DNA from citizens. And if the state is going to test welfare recipients, they say it should also test recipients of corporate welfare. 

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