A bill proposed by one Indiana Republican has been withdrawn after its provision to drug test recipients of government largesse was widened to include lawmakers themselves.
As Care2′s Robin Marty wrote here recently about a similar plan in Florida, Florida quickly learned that regardless of the legality of their plan, the actual testing itself showed that despite the Republicans’ assumptions, very few welfare recipients actually were using drugs. In fact, the percentage of welfare recipients using drugs was actually lower than that of the regular population.
But Back To Indiana
From Raw Story:
Republican lawmaker Judd McMillan (R-Brookville) removed the bill from consideration by the Indiana General Assembly after Democratic colleagues amended it, but, the Republican says, he intends to reintroduce it on Monday once he has reworked it.
“I’ve only withdrawn it temporarily,” said McMillan, stating that he crafted the bill to elude questions of constitutionality with regards to illegal search and seizure, issues that caused a Florida judge to overturn a similar rule earlier this year.
McMillan’s bill includes a “tiered” testing system, by which some people can opt out of random testing, but will be tested if the government deems that there is “reasonable suspicion” that they may be engaged in drug use. Testing could be triggered by an applicant’s demeanor, arrest or conviction for a crime, or failure to make appointments mandated by the welfare office.
Republicans In More Than 30 States Have Tried To Create Welfare Drug Testing Programs
No compelling evidence exists that individuals on public assistance or more likely to engage in drug use or other illegal behaviors and yet Republicans in more than 30 states have attempted to institute a drug testing requirement to receive benefits. Some laws have even attempted to make it impossible to collect food stamps or unemployment benefits without being tested.
From The Raw Story:
The amendment to the Indiana bill was proposed by Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend), who said, “After it passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill. If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy. If we’re going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money.”
The Indiana General Assembly will reconvene on Monday morning.
Republicans Have Pursued Welfare Drug Testing In More Than 30 States
In the past year Republican lawmakers have pursued welfare drug testing in more than 30 states and in Congress, and some bills have even targeted people who claim unemployment insurance and food stamps, despite scanty evidence the poor and jobless are disproportionately on drugs. Democrats in several states have countered with bills to require drug testing elected officials.
McMillan, for his part, said he’s coming back with a new bill on Monday, lawmaker testing included. He said he has no problem submitting to a test himself.
“I would think legislators that are here who are responsible for the people who voted them in, they should be more than happy to consent,” he said. “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.”
Photo Credit: Francis Storr