Wisconsin's plan was approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature more than two years ago, but it languished because it conflicts with federal rules prohibiting states from imposing additional eligibility criteria on food stamp recipients.
Walker approved a rule change to implement the screening and sent it to the Legislature for review Monday. Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said the governor believes he has the authority to implement the rule.
The Legislature has four months to review the rule and it could take a year after its approval before the testing would begin. Lawsuits by those who oppose the drug testing are expected once it's implemented, assuming the federal government doesn't step in and block it in the meantime.
Under the plan, childless FoodShare participants who fail a drug test would be eligible for state-funded rehabilitation treatment if they don't have any other way to pay for it. FoodShare is Wisconsin's name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.