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Introduced Version House Bill 4522 History

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H. B. 4522

 

         (By Delegates Ellington, Ambler, Arvon, Border,

               Butler, Faircloth, Ferns, Frich, Miller,

                    R. Smith, and Sobonya)

         [Introduced February 13, 2014; referred to the

         Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]

 

 

A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §9-3-6; relating to implementing drug testing for recipients of federal-state and state assistance who have been convicted of a drug crime.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §9-3-6, to read as follows:

ARTICLE 3. APPLICATION FOR AND GRANTING OF ASSISTANCE.

§9-3-6. Drug testing for recipients of federal-state and state assistance who have prior convictions for drug crimes.

    (a) The Commissioner of the Division of Human Services shall institute a drug testing program for controlled substances for all applicants and recipients of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits who have been convicted of a drug-related offense. The program shall contain, at a minimum, random testing, probable cause testing, testing at the time of application and treatment for substance abuse. The controlled substances for which tests shall be conducted shall include, at a minimum, amphetamines, tetrahydrocannabinol, oxycodone, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), any opiate, barbiturate, benzodiazepine, methamphetamine, propoxyphene, and any tricyclic antidepressants. No individual may be considered to have failed any such test if their positive test result is for a legally obtained medication prescribed to that person which is being used for its indicated purpose.

    (b) Ineligibility generally --

    (1) The commissioner shall deny, or otherwise determine ineligible, any applicant for federal-state or state assistance in the form of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits, if the previously-convicted applicant or recipient twice fails a drug test for illegal consumption of those controlled substances which the commissioner designates: Provided, That the commissioner shall refer a work-eligible applicant or work-eligible recipient who tests positive for the use of a controlled substance under this section to an appropriate substance abuse treatment program approved by the division.

    (2) Other members of a household that includes a person who has been declared ineligible for temporary assistance for needy families assistance, and who has been convicted of a prior drug-related offense, shall, if otherwise eligible, continue to receive temporary assistance for needy families benefits.

    (A) No dependent child's eligibility for TANF benefits may be affected by a parent’s failure to pass a drug test.

    (B) An appropriate protective payee shall be designated to receive benefits on behalf of the child.

    (C) The parent may choose to designate another individual to receive benefits for the parent's minor child. The designated individual must be an immediate family member or, if an immediate family member is not available or the family member declines the designation, another individual, approved by the division, may be so designated. The designated individual must also undergo drug testing before being approved to receive benefits on behalf of the child. If the designated individual tests positive for controlled substances, he or she is ineligible to receive benefits on behalf of the child.

    (c) Any applicant or recipient of, federal-state or state assistance in the form of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits who has been convicted of a prior drug-related offense shall submit to the commissioner's drug testing program as a requirement for eligibility or continued receipt of the assistance. Failure to submit to the testing has the same result as twice failing a drug test. Each individual to be tested, before the test is conducted, is to be informed that he or she may, but is not required to, advise the agent administering the test of any over-the-counter medication and of any legally obtained prescription medication he or she is taking. Each individual to be tested must be assured a reasonable degree of privacy while producing and submitting a sample for drug testing, consistent with the state's need to ensure the reliability of the sample.

    (d) Any applicant or recipient of, federal-state or state assistance in the form of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits who has been convicted of a prior drug-related offense who fails an initial drug test shall submit to a second drug test no less than thirty days following the initial drug test, but no later than sixty days therefrom. The commissioner may not deny, or otherwise determine ineligible, any applicant or recipient until he or she has failed the second drug test.

    (e) The commissioner may not deny, or otherwise determine ineligible, any applicant or recipient who fails the second drug test if the applicant or recipient immediately enrolls in a drug treatment program authorized by the Commissioner of the Division of Human Services.

    (f) Reapplication following ineligibility --

    (1) Any applicant or recipient of, federal-state or state assistance in the form of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits who has been convicted of a prior drug-related offense who is denied, or otherwise determined ineligible to receive benefits by the commissioner following a failure of an initial drug test and the mandatory secondary test, is ineligible to receive, and prohibited from reapplying for, the benefits for a period of two years from the date that commissioner denied the applicant’s or recipient’s claim or determined the applicant or recipient to be ineligible. Any applicant or recipient denied or determine to be ineligible under this section shall submit to a mandatory drug test as part of a reapplication for federal-state or state assistance in the form of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits.

    (2) Any individual who is forbidden to receive benefits under this section may reapply for the benefits no sooner than six months after the commissioner declares he or she is ineligible for the benefits if the individual can document the successful completion of a drug treatment program authorized by the Commissioner of the Division of Human Services. An individual who has met the requirements of this subsection and reapplies for benefits must also pass an initial drug test. The cost of any drug testing and drug treatment provided under this section is the responsibility of the individual being tested and receiving treatment. An individual may reapply for benefits pursuant to the exception contained in this subsection only once.

    (g) The commissioner is responsible for ensuring that applicants and recipients who have been convicted of a prior drug-related offense chosen for random drug testing are selected at random, and not by any other criteria.

    (h) The commissioner is responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of any and all drug test results administered as part of the program. Drug test results shall only be used for the purpose of denying, or determining eligibility for continued receipt of, federal-state or state assistance in the form of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits. At no time may drug test results be released to any public or private person or entity or any law-enforcement agency, except as otherwise authorized by this code.

    (i) The commissioner, after the testing process established in this section has been in place for two years, shall report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of drug testing as observed during those two years.

 

 

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a drug testing program for applicants and recipients of temporary assistance for needy families cash benefits who have been convicted of a prior drug-related offense. Any applicant or recipient who fails an initial drug test will be required to pass a second drug test in the following thirty to sixty days to maintain eligibility for receipt of benefits. Failing the secondary drug test results in ineligibility for benefits for a period of two years, and requires a mandatory drug test as part of a reapplication for benefits. The bill provides for a substance abuse treatment program. The bill provides for protective or vendor payments to a third-party payee for the benefit of the members of the household. The bill also ensures confidentiality of records.


    §9-3-6 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.

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