By Jon Parton
The Kansas Senate is currently drafting a bill that would require drug testing of any unemployment or welfare recipient suspected of doing illicit drugs.
While Kansas is not the first state to create such a law, it is the first to also add drug testing for all lawmakers as well.
Not only do I like the idea of having some elected parasite pee into a cup, I think poetic justice would be served if both politicians and public assistance recipients were forced to get tested at the same clinics.
I’m not morally opposed to drug testing welfare recipients. The money is there for people in need, not for people to support their habits. However, I’m opposed to the idea because of the amount of money it takes to implement the program.
A standard urine test usually runs employers about $100, while more thorough tests requiring hair samples can cost even more.
In addition to the costs associated with the tests, the state would also have to hire, train and pay officials who could then report suspected illegal activities.
The draft currently being debated in the Senate requires those who fail the test to complete a drug treatment and job program before their benefits would resume. A second failure would result in a year-long suspension, while a third failure would ban them for life.
’m amazed this bill is even being considered. I believe the government can do a better job at saving money, but this doesn’t seem to be a solution. If anything, the state will have to spend more money just to make sure government assistance isn’t helping someone buy pot.
This sort of legislation happens when you govern by emotion rather than logic. Much like the gun control debate, people want to treat the symptom rather than the cause.
Instead of banning guns, fix the situation that leads to gun violence. Instead of testing welfare recipients for drugs, fix the situation that leads to drug use.
It’s easier and even reflexive for lawmakers to make a bill like this. They make the assumption that there are enough drug users on welfare and unemployment to make the bill necessary. Furthermore, they assume the state will save enough money to make the initiative worth it.
Another amendment got shot down, one that required business owners who received subsidies from the state to face the same drug testing. I would have loved to see that part pass as well. However, funny as it may be, it doesn’t make for good, responsible government.
Instead of asking people to take drug tests, let’s do our best to create an environment where welfare isn’t even needed.
Contact Jon Parton, managing editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.