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FILE - In a March 8, 2017 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a news conference in Madison, Wis. Republican governors have launched a website that appears to be an independent news outlet, but readers have to look carefully to see that The Free Telegraph is the product of a political party committee. The RGA launched the site this summer, but only identified its connection to the site after the Associated Press began inquired. Walker, chairman of the RGA deferred questions through a spokesman to the group’s national staff. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer, File)

Wisconsin is moving ahead with a plan to drug test food stamp recipients


Gov. Scott Walker (R) is moving ahead with a plan to drug test some food stamp recipients in Wisconsin, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Sentinel on Monday reported that testing is anticipated to begin within as little as a year without action from the federal government or state lawmakers.

“Employers have jobs available, but they need skilled workers who can pass a drug test,” Walker said in a statement.

“This rule change means people battling substance use disorders will be able to get the help they need to get healthy and get back into the work force,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate added.

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Walker has submitted a plan to state lawmakers for drug-testing able-bodied recipients of Wisconsin’s Food Share program.

The plan will go into effect should the Wisconsin state Legislature not object within 120 days, though it would take at least one year for the testing to begin.

Walker’s spokesman on Monday said that the governor believes Wisconsin can proceed on the strategy without any federal action.

“Our position is we have the authority to implement the rule,” spokesman Tom Evenson said of the plan.

Wisconsin’s food stamp program is overseen by the state but is largely funded by federal taxpayers.

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Walker asked then-President-elect Trump and his incoming administration a year ago to clear the way for the change in Wisconsin’s food stamp initiative.

The former U.S. official in charge of the replacement program to food stamps said last January – just before Trump’s inauguration – that such testing would need a change in federal law.

“The law clearly does not allow it,” said Kevin Concannon, undersecretary at the federal Food and Nutrition Service within the Department of Agriculture.

Walker and Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin passed a broad drug testing plan for public benefits recipients in 2015 as part of the state budget.

The plan states that able-bodied adults who seek public benefits such as Food Share, health care, jobless payments and welfare to work would be drug tested.

Individuals who failed such drug tests would subsequently need to comply with treatment requirements or lose their benefits.

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