South Dakota democrats responded to a bill that would make welfare recipients pass a drug test before receiving benefits. Spence Hawley from Brookings says he’s seen similar bills in the past:

We've had this bill before.  The department back then came and testified that this is not an issue.  The people who are receiving the program right now are mothers with children primarily and the disabled and that drug abuse is not an issue.  The cost to put that program in would be so prohibitive.

Hawley cited many segments of the population who receive government assistance, and targeting one segment is concerning.

I do have a problem pulling that segment of the public out and saying you need to be drug tested and because you don't make enough money you must be on drugs is a big leap for me and I can't take that.

Hawley notes that should Medicaid expansion take place, there are components to address addiction and mental health issues, which could be a more proactive approach than drug testing for welfare benefits.

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