Sen. Tim Schaffer says he'll bring it back in January or February.
A bill that would require those on public assistance to be tested for drugs won't get through the Statehouse before the end of the current legislative session. Sen. Tim Schaffer, a Lancaster Republican, says he'll bring it back in January or February for the next two year lawmaking cycle.
"This is going to cut off the welfare pipeline for drug dealers," Schaffer said.
The proposal would launch pilot programs in three Ohio counties, but so far only Crawford County in north-central Ohio has raised its hand to be involved. Schaffer is hoping to try the program out in a large, medium, and small-size county before rolling it out statewide.
Schaffer says they ran out of time to get it done this session because they had to do months of research into court cases that were decided on similar programs in other states. Just this week he made changes to the bill that he believes will increase its chances of holding up in court. Among them is appointing a "protective payee" in cases where a parent tests positive.
"The local Job and Family Services Department will then seek out the protective payee to give the taxpayer money to so that that money gets to the kids and the family and doesn't go down the street to the drug dealer," Schaffer said.
There would also be a questionnaire for anyone seeking public assistance that would ask if the applicant is using illegal drugs. Schaffer says the bill allocates $100,000 to help with drug treatment.
Right now about 150,000 Ohioans get cash assistance, the majority are children.
It's a heated topic. Earlier this year opponents urged other lawmakers to introduce proposals to conduct drug tests on state lawmakers and other government officials.
"We want to make sure this policy works, it protects the taxpayer, and protects the children and these families," Schaffer said.
Schaffer believes he has enough support to get the bill passed. Gov. John Kasich expressed support earlier this yea