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      Welfare applicants say drug-testing is ~Ok TM

      A bill that would require some people applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to undergo a drug test, is one step closer to becoming state law.

      Right now TANF serves about 100,000 Texan families who need financial assistance to pay rent and utilities.

      TANF recipients receive between $93 to $514 a month depending on family size.

      State Senator Jane Nelson of Flowermound who authored the bill said the state has a responsibility to ensure that TANF funds are not being used to support a person TMs drug habit.

      It TMs really great that they are doing this, Humberto Tamez of McAllen said.

      We found Tamez at the local HHSC office applying for SNAP benefits after being laid off his job.

      It TMs great they are helping us with this and everything, but I don TMt think it TMs fair for people out ther to be using drugs and money for it, I don TMt think that TMs fair at all, Tamez said.

      If the bill is passed, it would only affect about 5 percent of applicants.

      Those who have a prior felony drug conviction and those who have failed a previous drug test.

      The bill also has a provision that is meant to ensure children of parents who fail a drug test are not negatively affected.

      The provision allows adults who test positive for drugs to create a protective payee who is designated to receive benefits and ensure they are properly used.