TANF

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

For Ashlyn Harcrow, the sound of the train whistle brings up all kinds of thoughts she’d like to avoid. Harcrow, 24, has been living at the Topeka Rescue Mission since July.

The nonprofit homeless shelter has helped her stabilize as she recovers from domestic violence and tries to improve her mental health amid post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

Kansas senators approved a bill Thursday that would require many of the state's elected officials and applicants for certain welfare benefits to undergo drug testing.

Applicants for Temporary Assistance to Need Families (or TANF) would undergo testing, as well as the governor, legislators and other state workers. Supporters say the measure is designed to help poor residents kick their addictions, get job training skills, and find employment. Opponents say the bill perpetuates the stereotype that poor people are also drug users.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Supporters say a bill to require some recipients of state benefits to be tested for drug use will help people improve their lives, not punish them.

Senate Vice President Jeff King told the Commerce Committee Wednesday that the proposals in Senate Bill 149 will help those receiving assistance payments or unemployment benefits to receive treatment and find employment.