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Politics

LePage Backs Madawaska Plan to Drug Test Welfare Recipients

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Gov. Paul LePage is getting behind a northern Maine town’s decision to consider new rules that would tie some welfare benefits to random drug testing.

Officials in Madawaska are vetting new rules that would apply to the state’s General Assistance program, which is run by the state and provides money for things like food. The issue will come up at the town’s Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday.

Town Manager Ryan Pelletier says Madawaska has a workfare program that treats General Assistance recipients like town employees who’re subject to drug screening. The rule change would extend that standard to all recipients.

LePage supports welfare reform. He calls Madawaska’s proposal "fiscally responsible."

Pelletier will return with a recommendation in August. A vote could follow, possibly in the form of a referendum.