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Wisconsin Moves To Drug Test Food Stamp Applicants

Michael Vadon/Flickr
If Gov. Scott Walker succeeds, Wisconsin will become the first state to implement drug testing for SNAP benefits.

Undeterred by states that tried and failed, Republican Gov. Scott Walker moved forward Monday with plans to require drug testing for able-bodied adults applying for food stamp benefits in Wisconsin, The Chicago Tribune reports. If successful, Wisconsin would become the first state to apply such rules.

Wisconsin's plan was approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature more than two years ago, but it languished because it conflicts with federal rules prohibiting states from imposing additional eligibility criteria on food stamp recipients.

Walker approached then-President elect Trump requesting clarification as to whether or not drug testing SNAP applicants is permissible, but he received no answer.

Under the plan, childless FoodShare participants who fail a drug test would be eligible for state-funded rehabilitation treatment if they don't have any other way to pay for it. FoodShare is Wisconsin's name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The governor hopes to move beyond childless applicants for food stamps in the future:

Walker has pushed to expand drug testing for public benefit recipients. The budget he signed this year called for drug screening all able-bodied, childless adults applying for state Medicaid BadgerCare health benefits, pending federal approval. The budget also required drug test requirements for food stamp recipients would be expanded to parents of children ages 6 to 18.

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