drug testing a possibility for welfare recipients. At face value, such a proposal seems to be one of common sense, and could go some way to reducing the amount USA spends on welfare – believed to be in the region of $888 billion in 2010. In Nebraska, Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont introduced a bill that could make a person ineligible for benefits for a year. The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a program to screen for the presence of controlled substances any welfare applicant or recipient suspected of using illegal drugs. If they test positive, they would be subject to an administrative hearing to determine if the test was accurate.If the test is then validated, the person would be ineligible for benefits for a 12 month period. Kentucky has taken a similar stance after the economic downturn has led to welfare recipients taking advantage of taxpayers, primarily due to the “food stamp and medical program…being abused”, according to Representative Lonnie Napier. The idea behind the bill he says; If they fail the drug test, they don’t get money. One critic of such proposals is Jack Burch, the executive director of Community Action Council. Considering the drug tests would cost around $30 each, Burch says, “There are about 750,000 people who get some type of assistance…we’re going to spend millions on the tests.” Napier’s idea is to have those applying for the aid pay themselves, while Burch also says the bill unfairly attacks the less fortunate and is designed to embarrass some people. With various other states proposing similar bills, this could soon be a national issue. It seems like a good idea, in theory, but will the costs of enforcing this be covered by the removal of benefits from those recipients who fail the tests? What are your thoughts?]]>
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