Able-bodied adults who apply for benefits through the FoodShare program would have to be screened for potential illegal drug use and submit to treatment if they test positive, under rules submitted by Governor Scott Walker’s administration on Monday.
In a statement, Walker said the requirement is intended to help “remove barriers” some workers face in finding employment. “Employers have jobs available, but they need skilled workers who can pass a drug test,” Walker said. “This rule change means people battling substance use disorders will be able to get the help they need to get healthy, and get back into the workforce.”
The Legislature has 120 days to review the rules. If no objections are filed, they could take effect next spring.
The proposal was included in the 2015 state budget, but had been on hold because of a conflict with federal rules for food assistance programs. The state filed a federal lawsuit initially, which was thrown out because President Obama’s administration had not actually rejected the state’s request yet to implement the change. President Trump’s administration has not yet responded to a state request to clarify whether screenings are allowed.