Virginia Republicans are the latest to advance drug testing for the poor and jobless as a half-dozen bills requiring the needy and unemployed to prove they’re not on drugs move through the state legislature.
More than 30 states in the past year have considered legislation to require drug tests for welfare recipients, and several have also targeted unemployment claimants. Virginia State Sen. Richard Black (R), a sponsor of drug testing, told HuffPost he’s not surprised by the surge of interest.
“Frankly, I think the use of drugs for some people is the reason they are unemployed,” Black said. “I don’t believe that taxpayers have an obligation to pay for recreational drug use … And I think if a person has the money to pay for illicit drugs, then they have the money to support themselves.”
Over objections by Virginia House Democrats, the Committee on Health and Welfare Institutions on Tuesday approved one of several bills that would require welfare recipients to be screened in order to qualify for assistance.
The bill would require every person on public assistance in Virginia to be evaluated to determine the likelihood that they are on drugs. Anyone who aroused suspicion in an initial screening would have to submit to a drug test or be thrown off public assistance for one year. The law would allow those with positive results to attend an approved drug treatment program.
- Georgia lawmaker who sponsored welfare drug testing bill busted for DUI (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Strictest Rules Yet Proposed For Unemployment Benefits (huffingtonpost.com)
- Ala. Lawmakers Propose Drug Tests for Welfare (addictionts.com)
- Drug Testing For Welfare Applicants Resurrected In Michigan (huffingtonpost.com)
- Georgia Republican Favoring Welfare Recipient Drug Testing Arrested For DUI (alan.com)
- Newt Gingrich’s Latest Assault On The Constitution: Drug Test Americans Before They Get ‘Any Kind Of Federal Aid’ (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- As GOP Pushes To Drug Test For Government Benefits, Only 1 Percent Fail Tests In Indiana (thinkprogress.org)