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[r68] Entitlement reform bill passes Indiana House
Start Date: 1/28/2014 All Day
End Date: 1/28/2014
Entry Description

STATEHOUSE – The Indiana House passed an entitlement reform bill that is now heading to the Senate for further consideration and discussion. If enacted, House Bill (HB) 1351, authored by State Representative Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), will establish a drug-testing program for those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds in addition to requiring nutritious foods and beverages to be purchased using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

“We are trying to accomplish several goals with this entitlement reform package like removing drugs from households, ensuring that tax dollars are being spent appropriately and making sure that good nutrition is available to more children,” said Rep. McMillin. “At times, we all encounter hardships, and we want to make sure that help is available for those in need. However, we still need to focus on providing the best possible environment for Hoosier children, and whenever drugs are involved in a household, they are at risk.”

One portion of House Bill 1351 would require a county office to administer a written or electronic substance abuse exam, known as the Substance Abuse Subtle Screen Inventory (SASSI) test, to all TANF fund recipients. Based on the results of the SASSI, if the county office considers an individual to have reasonable suspicion of illegally using a controlled substance, they are placed into a separate group for further testing. Fifty percent of that group is then randomly selected to take a drug examination.

If an individual, who is randomly selected, tests positive for illegal substance abuse, they can continue to receive their benefits if they enroll in a substance abuse treatment program. If they are unable to test clean while in treatment, their benefits will be removed for a total of three months. In the case where benefits are removed from households with children, those benefits can be transferred to a different legal guardian. 

Additionally, the bill would place new restrictions on what foods and drinks can be purchased using SNAP benefits. HB 1351 would only allow items of sufficient nutritional value to be purchased.

“A major component of living a healthy lifestyle is eating a balanced, nutritious diet,” said Rep. McMillin. “Nutritious food is extremely important to proper development and overall well-being of our children and every child deserves access to that.”

Another main element of HB 1351 would require the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to study topics related to long-term unemployment issues. The DWD would then submit a report to the Legislative Council and the Unemployment Insurance Oversight Committee with their findings.

“This entitlement reform initiative is ultimately designed to help Hoosiers help themselves,” said Rep. McMillin. “After discussing this issue though, many Hoosiers have stated that they cannot help themselves without being able to find a job first. So, a portion of this bill will require that the Department of Workforce Development to consider how best to get those who have been unemployed for a lengthy time back into the workforce.”
 
Visit www.in.gov/legislative for more information on HB 1351.

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Contact Information:
Name: Ben Gavelek
Phone: 317-234-9290
Email: ben.gavelek@iga.in.gov
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    > Entitlement reform bill passes Indiana House
Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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