AUGUSTA — A legislative committee has rejected Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to dramatically expand drug testing of welfare recipients.

The Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-5 against the bill on Wednesday. Two absent lawmakers can still vote.

LePage wants to require all adults in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to be screened for the probability of drug use and possibly tested. He’s also seeking to eliminate food stamps and cash payments to recipients with a drug conviction.

The administration recently began requiring drug-screening assessment for applicants with felony drug convictions.

LePage officials say that six recipients have been scheduled for screenings so far. Of those, four are being removed from the assistance program for failing to show up for the screening or test.

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