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Senate panel would end welfare drug-testing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A Minnesota Senate committee has approved a bill to overturn a law requiring drug tests for welfare seekers if they have been convicted of a felony drug offense in the past decade.

The bill passed the Health, Human Services and Housing Committee on a voice vote Monday.

Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter told the committee that the law provided no funding for counties to carry it out, and is a waste of taxpayer money.

Sen. Jeff Hayden, a Minneapolis Democrat who authored the bill, told his colleagues the perception that many welfare recipients are on drugs is false.

Several Republicans spoke in support of the law, saying it's meant to protect children who might have parents buying drugs with welfare money.

The bill goes next to the Finance Committee.

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