For the record, we never failed to argue against making the poor a scapegoat for the state’s drug problem.

After being addicted to introducing bills to drug test welfare recipients for more than five years, the Legislature passed a pilot program to do so in March 2016.

It took effect in June 2016 but required approval by the federal U.S. Administration for Children and Families.

That three-year pilot program finally got under way Oct. 23 for all applicants for the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Applicants must complete a drug screening questionnaire to determine a “reasonable” suspicion of drug use.

Those suspected of illegal drug use are sent for drug testing. If they test positive, they are referred to a substance abuse treatment and counseling program and a job skills program. Those who test negative for drug use require no further action.

Under 2016’s Senate Bill 6, reasonable suspicion exists if a case worker determines:

— A prior drug conviction within three years.

— Or an applicant demonstrates to a case worker qualities indicative of drug abuse.

Children's eligibility for TANF benefits are not affected by a parent's failure to pass a drug test.

If a parent is deemed ineligible, a protective payee is designated to receive benefits on behalf of the child

We’re no legal experts, but those criteria appear discriminatory and subjective, not to mention they might fall under unconstitutional search and seizure.

However, we’ll leave further arguments against this law to actual courts rather than the court of public opinion.

It is encouraging to see this bill does include provisions for the Department of Health and Human Resources secretary to report annually on this bill’s metrics.

That report will include total applicants ineligible to receive benefits because of a positive drug test, the number of applicants receiving benefits after completion of a drug treatment program and the total cost to operate the program.

Many questions still come to mind about this bill, but the most nagging one is, why apply drug screening just to welfare recipients?

If we are going to heap another indignity on the poor, why not everyone else receiving assistance or public funds, altogether, from the state? PROMISE Scholars, grant recipients, contractors and others, for instance.

Better yet, why not provide for drug testing for the state’s public officials, including all 134 legislators?

Such a bill was introduced this year — House Bill 2130 — but died in the House Judiciary Committee.

We’re unsure what it will take to convince lawmakers to withdraw from this legislation.

But perhaps its costs, including to their privacy, might end the fixation with drug testing welfare recipients.