Currently, the state of Alabama does not require residents applying for or receiving food stamp benefits to be tested for drugs. All of that could change, however, due to a newly proposed law.
WTHR reports that House Bill 3 would require those applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits to be tested for substance abuse “if there is reasonable suspicion that the person uses or is under the influence of a drug.”
If a recipient tests positive for drugs more than once without having a valid prescription, they would be ineligible to receive benefits. If an individual tests positive more than twice, they would be rendered permanently ineligible to receive SNAP benefits. If a parent of dependent children tests positive, then that parent “may designate a third party to receive the benefits for the benefit of the dependent child,” the bill reads.
The bill also specifies that recipients who refuse drug screening will be rendered ineligible to receive benefits.
If the bill is passed, it would go into effect on the first day of the “third month following its passage” and the approval of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.
According to The Hill, State Rep. James Hanes, a Republican, was the one who introduced the bill, which has since been referred to the state’s House Judiciary Committee.
Last April, the Associated Press noted that at least 15 states have passed laws related to drug testing and receiving food stamps.