An Act To Make Convicted Drug Felons Ineligible for TANF Assistance
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §3762, sub-§9, ¶D is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 22 MRSA §3762, sub-§17, as enacted by PL 2001, c. 598, §2, is repealed.
Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §3762, sub-§17-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 4. 22 MRSA §3762, sub-§20, as reallocated by RR 2011, c. 1, §33, is repealed.
Sec. 5. Application. That section of this Act that enacts the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 22, section 3762, subsection 17-A applies to a person receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits on or after the effective date of this Act.
Current law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a drug-related felony from being denied Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, benefits due to that conviction. Current law also allows the drug testing of a person receiving TANF benefits if the person has been convicted of a drug-related felony within 20 years of receiving TANF. If the drug test is positive for illegal drugs, a 2nd test may be requested by the person and, if the 2nd test is positive, the suspension of TANF benefits may be avoided by enrolling in a substance abuse treatment program.
This bill repeals the prohibition against the denial of TANF benefits for a conviction of a drug-related felony, instead providing that anyone who is convicted for a drug-related felony after August 22, 1996 is ineligible for TANF benefits, including a person who is receiving TANF benefits on the effective date of the legislation. The bill also repeals the provision allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to administer drug tests to persons convicted of a drug-related felony and the person who tests positive for illegal drug use to avoid the loss of benefits. The bill requires an applicant for or recipient of TANF benefits to declare in a written, signed statement whether the person or any member of that person's household has been convicted of a drug-related felony.