Legislator In Favor of Drug Testing Welfare Recipients, Not in Favor of Drug Testing Legislators

Illustration for article titled Legislator In Favor of Drug Testing Welfare Recipients, Not in Favor of Drug Testing Legislators

Indiana Republican Jud McMillin has withdrawn his bill that proposes to test welfare recipients for the presence of illegal drugs after a Democrat in the state's General Assembly tacked on a provision in the bill that would require that legislators themselves also be tested for drugs. From this, we can safely conclude that Jud McMillin might be on mushrooms as we speak.


McMillin says his withdrawal of the proposal wasn't because he fears that he may be denied his cushy legislator benefits once his raging heretofore secret crack habit is discovered, but rather to give him time to rewrite the legislation so it's not as unconstitutional.

A judge ruled in 1997 that it's not legal to test political candidates for drug use, and last year, a federal judge struck down a Florida law that required all welfare recipients to pass a drug test before being eligible for benefits, ruling that its enforcement constituted illegal search and seizure. To get around this, McMillin is adding language to the bill that would only require drug testing if the recipient of benefits were to arouse suspicion of being on drugs. The arbiter of the drug suspicion criteria will be an angry old man from Evansville, who will determine that everyone under 25 who is laughing or carryin' on has probably been smoking the pots and should be tested like the dickens.

The Huffington Post notes that, at the state level, conservatives have been on a bit of a drug-tests-for-the-impoverished spree of late, passing over 30 laws in the last year that made drug testing a prerequisite for receiving all manner of government benefits. In response, Democrats have introduced bills that would require all recipients of government money (college students, governors, veterans) to be tested for drugs in order to make a point about how much Republicans obviously don't like poor people. It's like Spy Vs. Spy, but real.

Welfare drug testing bill withdrawn after amendment to include testing lawmakers [HuffPo]



Technically, Indiana does have drug testing for social policy, which some people would deem WELFARE anyway. The WorkOne program is a job training program that has had testing since I believe May of 2011. I know it currently exists. The testing is just not required for TANF (welfare, formerly AFDC) and Medicaid. So, yeah, it's not like the GOP in IN lost a whole lot of ground here. They still have it on WorkOne, which is basically a political statement above all else.

And as for testing VA Benefits, that isn't likely to happen at the state level. That's not a block grant, so the state doesn't pony up money for veterans. The federal government is in charge. Thus, that would have to happen at the FEDERAL level with Congress. While states may give things like loans or scholarships to veterans and their children, they are not in charge of the bulk of "benefits" as we think of them. Likewise, college loan money is a FEDERAL issue. The states are not in charge of loans, so any decisions made at the state level wouldn't be worth the paper they were printed on.