Republicans in North Carolina have joined their colleagues in Florida in trying to push through a bill to drug test anyone who receives public benefits. Predictably, however, they balked at the idea that they themselves should be drug tested since they also receive taxpayer money.
Republicans in the North Carolina state Senate on Monday pushed through bill that would strip public benefits like food stamps and job training for people who fail a drug test.
In 35-15 vote largely along party lines, senators passed SB 594. A single Democrat voted for the bill, and no Republicans voted against it.
The bill requires those applying for benefits to pay for their own drug tests. Applicants who test negative would be eligible to have the costs of their tests reimbursed. The policy could cost the state more than $2.1 million.
At the same time, senators rejected an amendment offered by Democratic state Sen. Gladys Robinson that would have drug tested lawmakers, the governor and cabinet secretaries.
“We receive state funds, we represent the law, we institute policy,” Robinson told senators on Monday night. “So, it should not be above any of us to submit to drug screening.”
And of course, they would never vote for a bill requiring drug testing for executives of companies that get government contracts or tax breaks and subsidies. That would be wrong. Because this has nothing to do with protecting taxpayers, it has only to do with their desire to punish poor people and make them look like a bunch of lazy slackers.