Mandatory Drug Testing for People on Welfare?

Master Sgt. Urbano Sosa demonstrates the job o...

drug testing for welfare recipients and state workers

The mood and suspicion against people who take drugs continues to mount, and like a tsunami that erupts and spreads out across the globe – governments are getting swept up in hate speak and populist agendas -and people who use drugs are in the front of the queue to be kicked when they’re down, poor, struggling or none of the above -just kicked because they are using a substance of their choice.

The UK government has been calling obese people and drug users as undeserving of benefits -pushing forward views already held firmly by Australian governments and, although around 8 states in the US are looking into mandatory drug testing, this current move by Governor Scott of Florida is particularly ignorant and deeply disturbing. Scott wants to pass a bill that forces ALL welfare recipients and state workers to undergo MANDATORY drug testing! A positive result means a loss of benefits from 1-3 years -including stumping up the cash for the test itself. There is hope that the bill won’t succeed as it is clearly unconstitutional, the USA’s fourth Amendment stating people must be suspected before any ‘warrant’ can be issued but it seems it has to be challenged in law by July 1st. However, Arizona currently works with such a law, and although people have to be suspected before they can be drug tested, there are many cases of people being unjustly targeted,  only to lose their benefits from a positive result and, are then unable to seek treatment due to either the lack of services -or the inability to pay for treatment. Most people in the US have to pay for methadone treatment -and how do you do that when you have lost your benefits? These are scary times indeed- article below…

Florida’s Senate has just passed the contentious “House Bill 353”; which requires mandatory drug testing of all welfare recipients.

Scott has already signed an executive order mandating drug tests for state workers. But Republican senators this week fended off bipartisan amendments that would have imposed drug tests for anyone working for a company that receives public funds and schoolchildren in the Bright Futures program. Those amendments were designed to sabotage the bill by spreading the net uncomfortably wide.

If Scott signs the bill into law, it is almost certain to face a constitutional challenge, and the challengers would have a strong case. The only other state to pass a suspicionless drug testing bill for welfare recipients, Michigan, saw its law thrown out by a federal appeals court in 2003 as an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless searches. Arizona has a welfare drug testing law, but that law requires probable cause before a drug test can be demanded.

The bill, House Bill 353, requires all adult applicants for or existing recipients of federal cash benefits — the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program — to undergo drug testing at their own expense. If they pass the drug test, the cost of the test is reimbursed by the state. The tests would screen for all controlled substances and recipients would have to disclose any legal prescriptions they have.

If recipients test positive, they lose their benefits for a year. If they fail a second test, they lose their benefits for three years. Children whose parents lose their benefits could still receive benefits if another adult is designated the payee on their behalf.

The bill is set to go into effect July 1, provided Gov. Scott actually signs it and no legal challenge has been filed by that date. >>>

Full story at;

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2011/may/06/florida_legislature_passes_wefare

House Bill 353 can be found here;

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=45214&SessionId=66

<<< GENERAL BILL by Health & Human Services Committee and Judiciary Committee and Rulemaking & Regulation Subcommittee and Health & Human Services Access Subcommittee and Smith (CO-SPONSORS) Corcoran; Costello; Drake; Gaetz; Trujillo

Drug Screening of Potential and Exisiting Beneficiaries of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families:

v Requires DCFS to perform drug test on applicant for TANF benefit;

v requires such individual to bear cost of drug test;

v requires department to provide, & applicant to acknowledge receipt of, notice of drug-screening policy;

v requires department to increase amount of initial TANF benefit by amount paid by individual for drug testing;

v provides procedures for testing & retesting;

v requires department to provide information concerning local substance abuse treatment programs to individual who tests positive;

v provides conditions for reapplication for TANF benefits;

v provides that, if parent is ineligible as result of failing drug test, eligibility of children is not affected;

v provides for designation of another protective payee;

v provides rulemaking authority to department.

Check out this video comment on the bill – click below

http://www.videosurf.com/vembed/1271957601?width=640&height_vs=388

Drug Test State Employees, Welfare Recipients?

Effective Date: July 1, 2011 >>>

Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Patrick Henninger

     /  June 7, 2011

    To.get a job and receive pay – I have to pass random drug screens. When I joined the US Army – I had to pass a drug screen. What is TRULY ignorant is to object the proposed law. I pay taxes and don’t mind that money helping those in need, but if they are gonna milk the system and maintain their addiction- Fu*k that. Erin, you’re a moron. I’m not saying I’ve never done drugs, but to defend Meth/crack/coke/pot heads who live off welfare so they can sit around skiing the slopes while I pull my 40 hours tells me you’re beyond ignorant.

    Reply
    • Well, Im afraid You dont seem to be making sense or to have fully thought this through! Please permit me..; Your in the army, youve done the odd bit of drugs. Just like the thousands upon thousands of other guys and girls in the forces who have had a bit of this and that. The law – and laws people try and bring in of this type – dont discriminate based on just the fact that you have ‘dabbled’; this law was expecting anyone on welfare OR who was a state worker (!!) to undergo urine testing for drugs. So, this means, even if you just use a bit of coke once or twice every 6 weeks or so -a positive result means YOU LOSE. This applies for your comrades, those many thousands struggling to find work back from the war, IF they end up as a state worker, well they would be tested and promptly sacked. This law dosent discriminate between those who use a lot or a little. The ‘recreational’ drug user on welfare between jobs, the bus driver who smokes grass on weekends, the parent who is struggling with mental health problems and ‘self medicates’ to make it through each week, the 23 year old occasional ecstasy user who loses their (state) job as nurse – and yes, the heroin dependent person who spends all their welfare on gear to stay well. All these people lose -and is any of it fair? is it even reasonable? How can you possibly know how each person lives their life – the struggles they have if they do have a drug problem, how much they give/contribute/participate in life, what sort of a person they are? And if you can tell me what hope anyone has of trying to get their life back together with now even less money than welfare?Considering that this Governor in question wont apply this ‘test’ to people mis-using pharmaceutical drugs on the job or off (and fights against the creation of a database to try and get a handle on drs ‘pillmilling’ to the vulnerable, needy and corrupt,-because it makes phenomenal amounts of cash for drs etc) tells me this is all about not wanting to touch the upper middle class, but sticking the knife in the working class. To test state workers so he can parade around saying ‘we cannot give taxpayers money to this hospital because XX drug users have been found their this year!” You sound kinda reasonable, when you say you dont mind paying tazes for those who need it – could i suggest you dont be so quick to judge? You dont know me, dont judge me.

      Reply
      • Patrick Henninger

         /  September 2, 2011

        My point was that was a teenager I experimented, but once it came time to grow up and get a job- I haven’t touched any illegal substances whatsoever. It’s a simple case of misdirected priorities. The law says it’s illegal to do something, but you do it anyways- There will be consequences. If an employer (or welfare office) says, “Don’t use any drugs, or you will no longer receive assistance/be denied for them to begin with,” then don’t expect to get paid! I don’t think I’m being close-minded, because honestly if marijuana were treated like alcohol- Bet your ass I’d be munchin’ like a madman on weekends… Since the law (and my employer) doesn’t allow it in order to stay employed, I don’t do it. Self control, it’s part of being an adult. There isn’t a single drug (prescription, or OTC including caffeine and nicotene) without side effects, and it’s beyond ridiculous to feel that someone who receives any type of Government assistance has more rights/priviledges than I do as a working citizen- to use drugs and get a paycheck.

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