Grrrr—Rep. Elizabeth May (R-27/Kyle) says she’s bringing back the same bill to randomly test welfare recipients for drugs that we had to beat back last year:
She adds that the state has to work harder to ensure that people are using the benefits, such as TANF, for what they are designed for.
The bill would require the Department of Social Services to randomly test two percent of the adult applicants for the cash benefits upon application for benefits [Kevin Larsen, “Random Drug Testing for TANF Recipients Bill Emerging,” KCCR, 2017.01.08].
I’ll guess I’ll just have to bring back the same arguments I offered last year in response:
Suspicionless drug testing is still unconstitutional. Drug-testing welfare applicants is still scientifically and medically unsound and fiscally irresponsible. And welfare recipients still test positive for drugs at a lower rate than the general population [CAH, “Here We Go Again: Phil Jensen and Liz May Propose Random Drug Tests for TANF Applicants,” Dakota Free Press, 2016.02.06].
If the Legislature insists on testing recipients of government checks for drug use, then we should expect May’s bill to include a provision to authorize Capitol security to conduct breathalyzer tests on legislators as they arrive for committee hearings at 7:30 a.m. (We could also tack that provision onto A.G. Jackley’s SB 29… if we wanted to see that bill die a swift death.)
The three sober Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans who helped kill this nonsense last year—Senators Haverly, Peters, and Tidemann—are on Senate Approps again this year. They have Democrats Nesiba and Sutton to help them stand against welfare drug-testing. Let’s hope May’s cranky conservative redo follows the same path as last year’s.