DENVER (AP) — A measure to require welfare applicants to take a drug test before receiving benefits failed in a surprising vote in the Republican-controlled Colorado House.

The Republican bill failed Thursday during a preliminary “voice vote” where legislators yell yes or no while voting on a bill. It can be subjective because the ruling party usually says a vote passed regardless of who screamed loudest.

The proposal would’ve required welfare applicants to pay for and pass a drug test before receiving assistance. Those who passed would be reimbursed for the test and those who failed would not get benefits for a year.

Democrats argued the bill unfairly targeted low-income people, cost too much to implement, and violated constitutional protections against illegal searches.

Thursday’s vote indicated some Republicans also opposed the bill.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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