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Indiana House dilutes drug tests for lawmakers

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Indiana's state lawmakers would have to submit to drug tests before they get perks like parking spots and laptops under a plan advanced Monday by the state House of Representatives.

The testing proposal is part of a bill introduced by Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, that would mandate Indiana's welfare recipients take drug tests before receiving any assistance. But McMillin withdrew his measure last week after lawmakers amended it to also require lawmakers to submit to drug tests.

McMillin said he withdrew the measure because the drug testing of legislators would be unconstitutional. But he brought a diluted version the bill back for consideration on Monday.

"This particular amendment would provide for legislative drug testing in in a way that I fully believe would meet constitutional muster," he said.

Indiana lawmakers overwhelmingly chose McMillin's pared-down drug test for themselves Monday, voting 81-15 for the proposal. The diluted plan would limit the number of lawmakers who are tested and give the House speaker and Senate president pro tem the power to test lawmakers they suspect of using drugs.

Democrats argued that Indiana's poor should not be the lone targets of drug testing, in one instance offering an amendment that would have mandated business owners who receive tax breaks and loans from the state take drug tests as well.

"I think at some point the people of Indiana want consistency when government money is given, about whether or not somebody is drug free when they accept it," said Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend, who authored the original amendment requiring lawmakers to submit to the tests.

The overarching question of constitutionality and Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure has led federal courts to block drug-testing of welfare recipients in other states.

A federal judge ordered last year that Florida's testing law be put on hold while a challenge from the ACLU and a single father works its way through the courts. A federal appeals court blocked Michigan's attempt to mandate drug testing in 2003.

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  • rules
    He who makes the laws, can make the laws not apply to them.

    you have to have a background check/drug test for just about every job, even as a state employee. why then there is no background check/drug test for legislators,

    answer is, BECAUSE THEY MAKE THE LAW'S and don't like being treated like Normal people, they are, ABOVE THE LAW, don't you people know that by now... if they were tested, a lot would lose there jobs.

    testing welfare people is about keeping the money. it's cost cutting, the less they have to pay out the more they keep, this law has nothing to do with getting people off drugs or finding clean people, it's about the state keep as much money as the can. Welfare, Unemployed is a shell game, they keep moving the target so you have to jump thru hoops, all along the state is wishing you make the wrong move. then "denied' that way, they keep more money. it's not about helping people at there lowest for a Republican, to a Republican it's 'THERE' money, not the tax payers. Yes, there are some deadbeats, but the same could be said about our legislators.
  • What will they do?
    I am against testing the welfare recipients for drugs. I think that their drug abuse enhances the time (most of every day) that they spend playing XBox 360 on their big screen T.V.
  • Let's get em
    Don't forget old people on SS - lets make sure we test them too. And people who get the EIC credit, as well as kids who eat subsidized lunches. I don't think the founding fathers meant for the Bill of Rights to apply to poor people.
  • Seriously??
    I have to be drug tested to get a job and be paid in the private sector. I believe that if you are getting paid by or getting assistance from the government, you should submit to a drug test. What's the difference, it's government money. Only those who have something to hide will object. If you don't do drugs, why would you refuse a drug test?
  • pro drugs
    I, for one, want some of the drugs that our legislature is taking this session. After all, what else could explain Right To Work and Creationism but mind altering substances.

    Proud resident of the Mississippi of the north!
  • Drug Testing
    REALLY? Unlawful to drug test our legislators? If I am paying for you I want you ALL to take drug tests. Legislatures, Senate, Welfare, Unemployed, anyone who received assistance!
  • Drug Testing Issue
    Have you noticed that our government, state and federal, wants to protect us from each other, except for those elected to public office. At the Federal Level, Members of the House are exempt from the SEC Insider Trading Law, among hundreds of other bills passed through the years, and at the State Level, lawmakers back off any bill that includes their participation. Voters have no control, period. Voters need to be tested for drug and alcohol abuse, while elected officials do not. I think our law makers are actually bill killers, if the issue falls to close to home.
  • Drug Testing
    Agree absolutely. To get gov. funds, everyone should be tested for drugs. And furthermore all the different products that can be purchased to hide drugs in the system should be removed from shelves in all stores!

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