Walker Wants to Drug Test Recipients of Public Assistance

Now that Scott Walker has been reelected as governor of Wisconsin, he’s planning to make good on his promise during the campaign to institute a strict drug testing program for anyone who receives public assistance. Public officials, of course, will be exempted.

Wisconsin could have one of the nation’s most sweeping drug-testing requirements for those receiving public benefits if the proposal by Gov. Scott Walker to test those who apply for unemployment checks and food stamps becomes law.

But with scant details, it’s unclear whether any expansion beyond the current testing of drug felons would be allowed under federal law governing the state’s FoodShare program. It’s also unclear how Wisconsin could craft any broad-based testing program for public benefits recipients that would be found constitutional.

The newly re-elected governor and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, both say a top priority of the upcoming legislative session is to require that recipients receiving food assistance and unemployment compensation be drug free to qualify for benefits.

In Wisconsin, an estimated 836,000 people receive FoodShare benefits, about 40 percent of them children, according to the state Department of Health Services. As of last week, 39,958 people had filed weekly unemployment compensation claims, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

As part of his re-election campaign platform, Walker vowed to require “a drug test for those requesting unemployment and able-bodied, working-age adults requesting food stamps from the state.” But no further details, including the cost and scope of the proposal, were available last week from the Walker administration.

Spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the governor will work with his Cabinet in the coming weeks “to craft a specific proposal,” which is designed toward “moving people from government dependence to independence.”

Such bullshit. As other states have found out, those on public assistance use drugs at a significantly lower rate than those who aren’t — so much so that it actually costs more to administer such a program than it saves. It’s also clearly unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment. And of course, it’s hypocritical. Can you imagine what Walker would say if someone proposed that all elected officials, government employees and executives from businesses who receive taxpayer funds and tax breaks must take a drug test? But those people receive taxpayer money too and in much larger amounts than those who get food stamps.

This is about one thing and one thing only: Scapegoating poor people and making them seem unworthy of our help.

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  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    I wonder how much money the Wisconsin government spends on drug rehab programs, which might actually help those supposed drug abusing government assistance clients get off drugs. If they got off drugs some might actually be able to work again, and get off public assistance. And you wanna bet that the cost of one drug test probably could help run one treatment slot for a day or two.

  • marcus

    Scott Walker: Arrogant Asshole or Hypocritical Piece of Shit?

    Yes.

  • colnago80

    We should note that mother fucker Walker, along with his counterpart

    Scott in Florida were reelected.

  • dingojack

    Hey someone really needs to write a TV show around this guy. How ’bout calling it: ‘Walker, Wisconsin Wanker’. Anybody got the number of Chuck Norris’ agent?

    @@

    Dingo

  • marcozandrini

    I think the scotus ruled that drug testing government entitlement recipients was illegal. I know, let’s mandate that all repubs pass a breath analyzer before driving their car. Hey, they didn’t pay for that road. Jerx.

  • Jared James

    It’s not about blaming public assistance recipients for their current position, so much as punishing them without bothering with the accusation part.

  • D. C. Sessions

    It’s not that complicated. Wisconsin law requires drug testing as a condition of receiving public assistance; the Supreme Court has ruled that Wisconsin can’t do the testing; it follows that none of the recipients pass the tests. Conclusion: huge budget savings for Wisconsin!

  • parasiteboy

    Don’t you just love the smell of someone shitting on the poor in the morning.

    I’m not sure if it’s the same in Wisconsin as it is in California, but when I was a lecturer in higher education there, I was eligible for unemployment benefits between semesters, because I was not guaranteed a job when the next semester began (like if a class had low enrollment they could cancel the class and I would be SOL). If I had dependents I would have also been eligible for food stamps.

    Of course in CA the union would oppose something like this. Just one more reason to get rid of those pesky unions I guess.

  • John Pieret

    The Republican Party … Bringing Petty Malice to a Government Near You!

  • Chiroptera

    …so much so that it actually costs more to administer such a program than it saves.

    On the other hand, it fits well into Republican economic theory where cutting taxes while raising defense spending reduces the deficit.

  • dingojack

    John Pieret – hey! Republican malice is many things, just never petty (well, not deliberately anyway)!

    :) Dingo

  • roggg

    It’s pointless and degrading as a policy, but if he ran on it, and the people elected him, then I guess pointless and degrading is what the people of Wisconsin are demanding. That’s democracy.

  • chilidog99

    I think we need to drug test anyone caught wearing one of those yellow triangle cheese head hats.

    Or just shoot them outright.

  • raven

    Judge nixes Florida’s welfare drug testing | The Miami Herald

    www. miamiherald. com/news/politics-government/article1958891.html

    Dec 31, 2013 – Judge nixes Florida’s welfare drug testing … 2011 law requiring welfare applicants to undergo drug tests is unconstitutional, striking a blow to Gov. … Scott’s lawyers argued that TANF recipients should be considered a “special …

    1. As noted above in #5, the courts have ruled that welfare drug testing is unconstitutional.

    2. So what exactly is Walker doing here? I guess it must be the thought that counts. Next up, making food stamp recipients wear a Scarlet FS. The unemployment recipients will have to wear a Scarlet U.

    3. Walker was reelected and it wasn’t even all that close. 52% to 47%. By all accounts, his regime in Wisconsin hasn’t done Wisconsin much good. Maybe in the next 4 years, he can wreck Wisconsin more, like Brownback did in Kansas, who also got reelected.

  • scienceavenger

    Can you imagine what Walker would say if someone proposed that all elected officials, government employees and executives from businesses who receive taxpayer funds and tax breaks must take a drug test?

    He would look at you like you were an idiot, and explain the issue isn’t receipt of tax funds per se, but receipt of said funds out of need brought on by life mismanagement, which drug use would exacerbate. Despite the inaccurate social assumptions buried in the above, please don’t use this argument. Its bad PR, because it makes you look like you have no understanding of what the point of the legislation is. Stick to the ineffectiveness and unconstitutionality arguments, as well as the problem of the vast time lag of tests for some drugs, as the idiocy of the entire process. Land of the free – now pee in this cup or else.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scienceavenger “He would look at you like you were an idiot, and explain the issue isn’t receipt of tax funds per se, but receipt of said funds out of need brought on by life mismanagement, which drug use would exacerbate.”

    But people like him are worse. As bad as the Welfare Moochers are, elected public officials both want to be Moochers and engage in a conspiracy with the public to gain their Mooching position in government!

  • Alverant

    Well we know in Florida the governor had ties to a drug testing company. I wonder if it’s the same for Walker.

  • raven

    Well we know in Florida the governor had ties to a drug testing company. I wonder if it’s the same for Walker.

    1. LOL. Hey, that is no problem. If Walker doesn’t, he can arrange them in a few minutes. It’s just business.

    2. I see this a lot with the trend towards “government privatization”. You outsource government services like park lawnmowing, prisons, welfare, Medicaid, etc.

    It’s corruption and incompetence. The private company is someone’s buddy and/or kickbacking. They might be skilled in the area, but not might be. They cut every corner known to maximize their profits. You end up paying more and getting less!!!

    It’s a part of the GOP strategy of cutting taxes while increasing spending and works just like it is supposed to.

  • beezlebubby

    To borrow a suggestion from Mojo Nixon, how about we dig a moat around the governor’s office, and fill it with urine? If he wants people’s urine so badly, we ought to give it to him, by the tanker load.

  • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com Leo Buzalsky

    @14, raven, “I guess it’s the thought that counts.”

    Well…yeah! I think Ed pretty much said the same where he said, “This is about one thing and one thing only: Scapegoating poor people and making them seem unworthy of our help.”

    Never mind the unconstitutional part; you’d think he must know about the ineffectual part. Well, at least “ineffectual” regarding the claimed goal. So, yeah, if he could, he may very well have people wearing scarlet letters.

  • tfkreference

    And this is in Wisconsin, a state where you can buy single cans of beer at gas stations.

  • theguy

    Seems like the only jobs Governor Assclown will create will be for the drug test companies.

    For the record, I voted against this guy in both elections and in the recall.

  • suttkus

    Surely, passing a law that is blatantly unconstitutional should count as treason. But we don’t have to worry about that from Republican governors because they love the Constitution so very much!

  • DaveL

    Surely, passing a law that is blatantly unconstitutional should count as treason.

    Since treason is narrowly defined by the constitution, and that definition does not include the passing of any unconstitutional law, any legislation defining such an act as treasonous would itself be blatantly unconstitutional, and therefore, by its own terms, treasonous.

  • Synfandel

    Wisconsin could should have one of the nation’s most sweeping drug constitutionality-testing requirements for those bills receiving public benefits the governor’s assent.

  • raven

    I don’t get this on any level.

    Single mother with two kids tests positive for marijuana, a legal drug in several states while applying for food stamps.

    1. So you let her and her two kids starve to death?

    2. While that solves the drug user gettting food stamps “problem”, it seems to create a few more here.

    3. A single mother with two kids applies for food stamps. She is drunk most of the time. But that is OK I guess since she can sober up one day a year and pass a blood alcohol test. That won’t work for marijuana since it and its metabolites stay in your system for a long time, 45 days according to one source.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    Unemployment benefits are not some government handout. It is an insurance program paid on your behalf by your employer as part of your compensation for working. It does not in any way belong to the State or Scott Walker.

    Piss on him for trying to steal hard-earned money.

  • marcus

    Kamaka @ 27 “Piss on him for trying to steal hard-earned money.”

    Unless he happens to be on fire at the time.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    @28 marcus

    If he’s on fire, PZ can piss on him.