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HB 1133: Goodwin Proposes Testing Legislators for Drugs!

Do some of the bills in Pierre have you wondering what our legislators are smoking? Rep. Tim Goodwin (R-30/Rapid City) has filed House Bill 1133 to help us find out:

Each member of the Legislature shall submit for a drug test within two weeks of being sworn into office and within two weeks of the end of the legislative session. Any refusal to submit to a drug test or any positive confirmed drug test for the use of a controlled substance that was not prescribed for the member by a licensed health care provider shall be reported to the presiding officer of the house to which the member belongs for appropriate disciplinary action [HB 1133, as filed 2018.01.23].

AP puts Goodwin’s bill in the context of Attorney General Marty Jackley’s get-tough-on-meth legislation:

The move comes after the attorney general proposed legislation to impose harsher penalties for methamphetamine dealing and manufacturing.

Goodwin says if lawmakers are going to send people to prison for a “long period of time, we should all be clean ourself” [“Under the Influence? SD Lawmaker Would Drug-Test Colleagues,” AP via Watertown Public Opinion, 2018.01.23].

Mandatory drug testing for South Dakota legislators
Rep. Tim Goodwin’s latest bright idea

Testing legislators for drug use? One might think Rep. Goodwin is reading this blog, where many of you readers have joined me in decrying the Legislature’s efforts to impose mandatory drug-testing on welfare recipients and suggesting that if anyone needs to be tested for mind-altering substances, it’s the legislators who come up with these hare-brained ideas.

But I’ll stand for the Constitutional rights of legislators as surely as I stand for the Constitutional rights of every other American. Legislators may be racist, corrupt, fact-averse, lazy, and easily distracted… but most of them have committed no crime. To force them to submit to suspicionless searches violates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

As is, HB 1133 stands no chance of passing, since it’s so lazily written. It needs to specify who schedules, conducts, and funds the drug testing. It should broaden the time frames to the first and last halves of Session (if we suspect drug use, why give them the middle five weeks of Session as a safe no-testing period?). It should specify that the tests will be administered randomly rather than leaving the door open for legislators to submit at a time of their choosing.

And of course, to prevent any cheating on HB 1133, the Legislature would have to drag Gene Abdallah out of retirement… because someone has to watch them pee.


  1. Jason 2018-01-24 00:19


    Are you saying all drug tests are unconstitutional?

    You are flat out wrong. Every employer has a right to drug test.

  2. Flipper 2018-01-24 00:28

    Thanks for the LOL moment before hitting the sack tonight. That last line was the best!

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-24 05:56

    Gee, Jason, I thought you were all about liberty. I guess conservatives aren’t really interested in liberty; they are just interested in proving their machismo and moral superiority. They want to carry guns everywhere, but they also want government to force people to pee in cups while they watch so they prove their own abstinence from drugs. They want to deny women their constitutional rights so they can punish them for having sex outside of conservatives’ professed (but underpracticed) Puritan beliefs.

    Jason, I contend that employers should not have the right to demand bodily fluids from their employees. Do you really think forcing me to pee in a cup and sezing my bodily fluids without any evidence that I have committed a crime is a reasonable search and seizure?

  4. Fred Deutsch 2018-01-24 06:08

    The drug screen should be during the campaign. People tell me all the time you have to be on something to want to run for public office.

  5. Donald Pay 2018-01-24 06:48

    It’s common sense to screen Legislators for drug use, but don’t stop there. The Governor and Department heads need to be screened. Take the cost of the test out of their salaries. And it should be randomized through the year.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-24 06:58

    If drug tests were acceptable, then yes, I do like the idea of drug tests during the campaign. That’s how employers do it: you have to pee when you apply, before you’re hired. Get the candidates twice, once during primary season, once during September or October.

    Imagine the billboards: Tim Goodwin holding out his yellow cup—”I’m clean!”

  7. jason 2018-01-24 07:15


    You have the right not to work for the employer who demands the drug test.

    I do have a problem with the Government demanding a drug test for truckers.

  8. mike from iowa 2018-01-24 07:36

    The state could have a “eat sesame seeds” contest before being tested so everyone tests positive for cocaine. But, why atop there? Let’s get really punitive. Pay the lege and guv, AG and all others with state issued cards with a $25 limit per use and a $2.50 fee per use. The $2.50 fee can go to pay teachers. Kansas tried this with their SNAP cards for the poors. Someone forgot to tell stoopid wingnuts ATM macjines pretty much only handle $20 so the poors were being limited even more by stoopid wingnuts.

    Be a shame if stoopid wingnuts actually were made aware of reality, wouldn’t it?

  9. mike from iowa 2018-01-24 07:46

    You have the right not to work for the employer who demands the drug test.

    Some would see that refusal to work as an admission of drug use and principles be damned. Others would say if you refuse to do the work because of the tests you didn’t need a job that bad.

    How about this one, Jason- my sincerely held religious beliefs say my bodily fluids are sacred and you have no right to test me, before, during or after employment. If you refuse to hire me because I refuse to be tested, I can sue you for violating my sincerely held religious beliefs.

    Try’er this way, my sincerely held religious beliefs include using peyote as part of the service. Now fire me.

    42 U.S. Code § 1996a – Traditional Indian religious use of peyote

  10. o 2018-01-24 08:32

    Nice try Mike, but we both know that religious freedom only applies to christians. (snark)

  11. Ryan 2018-01-24 09:57

    A couple problems with drug tests is that they are easy to beat, and even an honest interpretation of somebody’s pee is almost 100% useless in determining their ability to perform a particular job. Alcohol is a factor in more accidents, on the job or off, than all other drugs combined, and that isn’t something that can be prevented with pee tests. If a person performs poorly because they are on drugs, fire them. If a person performs poorly because they are stupid, but they aren’t on drugs, fire them. If a person performs their job safely and well, do you care if he or she is smoking joints on the weekends? Many of our legislators are probably squeaky clean when it comes to drugs, but is that really a comforting consolation prize for them doing nothing helpful or useful for the people of South Dakota?

    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. I have a dream, that one day man will be judged not by the composition of his pee, but by the content of his character and the consequences of his actions.

  12. Rorschach 2018-01-24 13:56

    This bill is a slippery slope. If you start drug testing politicians it’s only a matter of time before you start drug testing the voters that elected them. Does Rep. Goodwin really want his voters drug tested?

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-01-25 06:05

    Oh, there goes Jason, offering the classic excuse for violating the Fourth Amendment, claiming we have individual choice in an area where, really, practically, most people’s backs are against a wall. Very few people can choose not to work.

    Jason still hasn’t given a justification for searching and seizing bodily fluids from a person who has given no reason for suspicion of criminal activity.

    Ror makes the better point: if there is any reason to invade the Fourth Amendment rights of anyone involved in government, then we can start making the argument for everyone, elected official, employee, or voter. An as Ryan says, when alcohol is a much greater harm, why not add daily (or hourly) breathalyzer tests?

  14. Frank 2018-03-28 10:35

    As his ex-brother-in-law I can’t tell you how big a creep this person really is dig into his pass and you’ll find out more about him he needs to be removed from office

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