Continuing a trend seen in several other states, most prominently Florida, after Republicans take over the legislature, there’s a bill in Kansas to institute drug testing for welfare recipients. The bill is currently in a House committee and you can be sure that Gov. Sam Brownback would sign it:
A bill that requires random drug testing of one-third of the applicants in the state’s 13,000 welfare cases will have a hearing before the House Health and Human Services committee today.
People who test positive for illegal drugs, such as opiates, amphetamines or marijuana, would be subject to a drug treatment program and continued drug tests. A second positive test would suspend welfare payments for a year and again require a treatment program. A third violation would bar a person from receiving state welfare money.
Testing welfare recipients would ensure that taxpayer money does not go toward those abusing the system, said Rep. Brett Hildabrand, R-Merriam, sponsor of HB 2686.“It would add some accountability to those who receive state assistance and ensure that the money is going to those who in my opinion deserve it most,” he said.
First, this is unconstitutional and the courts have already ruled it to be. Second, why only welfare recipients? If you’re worried about those who receive “taxpayer money,” you should also test corporate CEOs and board members of companies that receive tax subsidies or have a contract for state business. Oh, and elected officials too. Put that in the bill and it will never pass. Because it’s all about scapegoating poor people. And by the way, it actually costs more money than it saves.