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Abilenians mixed on Perry-Dewhurst proposal to drug test welfare recipients

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Nov 13 2012 10:13:32 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 14 2012 07:53:38 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst are asking the Texas Legislature to require welfare recipients to pass a drug test before receiving benefits.

Perry said in a statement, "Texas taxpayers will not subsidize or tolerate illegal drug abuse. Every dollar that goes to someone who uses it inappropriately is a dollar that can't go to a Texan who needs it for housing, child care or medicine."

People in Abilene had mixed feelings about the issue.

"I don't know that that should be a prerequisite for getting the benefits, but it doesn't hurt to make sure that folks are taking care of themselves," said Jeff Ayers, who said he isn't for or against drug testing welfare recipients.  

"I think it's very logical that they should be drug tested," said Rebecca Hall, who agrees with Perry and Dewhurst. 

"They’re already spending money on recipients. They want to increase the spending? He’s crazy," said Wayne Wilson about Perry's proposal.

"Who funds it and is there really a need for it?" asked Faith Gage, who said she has more questions than she does opinions on the topic.

Many people said there is definitely a need for drug testing as many who apply for assistance unfortunately are abusing the system.

"Whenever a person applies for and gets the food stamp card that can be used for obtaining cash… and that cash could be used to buy drugs," Hall said.

Under the reform, anyone who failed a drug test would be barred from welfare programs for one year unless they enter a drug rehabilitation program.