Should welfare recipients in Michigan suspected of using drugs be tested?
And if they fail, lose benefits?
There's a heated debate about the issue going on in the legislature right now and on our WSBT Facebook page.
By late Wednesday afternoon, more than 4,000 people "liked" the story and more than 1,200 comments were posted.
Here are some of the comments:
Sarah Smith: "I think that its stupid because the kids will be the ones who starve not the stupid adults who choose to be druggies . Their should be more than the drug test if they do,cause again the babies shouldn't have to pay for it."
Nicole Y. Slater-Yarbrough: "Punishing EVERYONE for a few ROTTEN APPLES....not the way...not the way..."
Dianne Barnes: "Yes. If people need to take random drug screen's to be em;ployed; welfare recipients shoudl take one MONTHLY. After all, they're spending our money."
David Maddox: "they should have done this a long time ago, for those of us who have to work generally have to take a drug test and pass in order to be employed so why can't those who don't work and on the system have to pass a drug test it's only fair that is if this is still America."
The Republican-sponsored bill would require a welfare recipient suspected of drug use take a test and pass in order to receive public assistance.
State Representative Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) says the legislation has merit but lawmakers need to proceed with caution.
"I think it needs to be flushed out," said Pscholka. "There are several details members have questions on."
Voters have strong views on the issue.
"If they're getting government aide, they should be willing to submit to testing," said Brenda Clanton of Niles.
But Barry Mooney disagreed.
"I really don't think that should be done," stressed Mooney. "They're no different than the average person."
But this topic is not new to Michigan.
The state was the first in the country to run a pilot random drug testing program for people on public assistance in 1999.
After the ACLU sued, it was ruled unconstitutional in 2003.
The National Conference of State Legislatures, a government watchdog group, has researched the issue across the country.
At least seven states currently have legislation requiring some form of drug testing for welfare beneficiaries.
Right now, 24 states, including Indiana, have pending legislation on the issue.
Similar to what happened in Michigan, Florida's drug testing plan was recently suspended after the ACLU filed suit.
"You have to look at the language closely on how you would run such a program," urges Pscholka. "There are some 4th Amendment privacy concerns with this type of legislation."
Pscholka says because of the court battles involving this issue, the legislation will move through the legislature very slowly.
He thinks it will be months before it even reaches the House floor.
In the meantime, an Indiana state health committee Wednesday voted in favor of requiring people on welfare to go through a written screening test for drug problems.
The bill will move for a vote before the entire Senate.
Lawmakers in both states supporting this legislation want to make sure the bill can stand up to any potential court battles.
Those against it worry what it would do to kids of welfare parents if they are stripped of their benefits.