Indiana Republicans push drug tests for welfare money

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Two Indiana Republicans want welfare recipients to pass drug tests before they can receive benefits.

Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, and Rep. Heath VanNatter, R-Kokomo, said they have asked statehouse staff to draft bills that they plan to submit when lawmakers return for their 2012 session on Jan. 4.

"I can tell you there are an awful lot of people out there that want this thing done," Leising said Wednesday.

Other states including Missouri and Florida have pushed for the testing, but measures have run up against Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. At least one federal judge has placed a testing law on hold.

In Indiana, Leising wrote a bill earlier this year cutting off job-training programs for anyone testing positive for drugs. Indiana was the first state in the nation to mandate those seeking job help to be tested. When working on the measure during the 2011 session, Leising fought off efforts to amend the bill to require testing for welfare recipients after state lawyers told her such a move would likely land the measure in court.

But the issue has resurfaced, and supporters of such a measure say it's a matter of fairness: Indiana residents scrapping for a paycheck shouldn't have their tax dollars go to welfare recipients who abuse drugs.

"I think people are just fed up with the government not spending their tax money wisely," VanNatter said. "If (welfare recipients) have money to spend on drugs maybe they shouldn't be on welfare."

VanNatter and Leising haven't worked out the specifics yet, but say they broadly want recipients of state aid under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to undergo drug tests in order to qualify for aid.

Ken Falk, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said the measure sounds like a clear violation of the Constitution's protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

"The question is 'Is there a special need to drug test welfare recipients?'" Falk said.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Mitch Daniels said the governor is watching the bill. It's not clear whether he would support it.

A federal judge ordered last month 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.


  • the idea of birth control
    In regards to the birth control comment,
    we should urine test
    and if on welfare you should be on birth control
    you obviously don't have enough to support your family, you don't need any more to support a bigger family. So mandating birth control would be a great asset to add on.
  • Paycheck
    The way I see it, I'm getting a paycheck at work. People in welfare are getting a paycheck too. So if asked to take a drug test I will, as should people any people who receive a paycheck. You think it is a lack of privacy, against the fourth amendment, if you do drugs of course you are going to be against this, you want your stash payed for. People that are for this, are working Americans. People against this should leave the country.
  • time to legalize marijuana
    The people who should have those benifits taken for drug use will not crack meth cocaine and most pills are onlyin you system for a couple days.The people who are going to be affected the most are marijuana users which is legal in alot of places.republicans constently thinking of ways to take the last of our fredoms.
  • And the slippery slope
    I agree with you, 100%..... so it's settled, we can stop giving them my money, right? I don't recall the founding fathers saying "everyone who wants a handout, should get it, free of charge, accountability, or responsibility. And if/when they want more, they should get." Poverty is not a crime, so let's stop spending money on it. Turn the handouts we throw billions at into progress. "Hello, you want free money/food/shelter, no problem, just a quick test, then you get $, want more, no problem, just show up to this class on how to cook/clean/converse/ whatever makes you a functioning member of society and you can have free money".
  • Other States Do It
    This is plain common sense. If it costs too much to drug test them all, then tell them it will be a random drug test. I'm subject to a drug test to get my paycheck and therefore, they should be subject to one in order to get a welfare check. Why should they get to buy drugs and cigarettes with tax payer money? Or get free grocery money and have the ability to buy drugs and cigarettes with what little money they do make? Drug test everyone, I don't care, it keeps people honest!
  • I would like all government employees tested firs

    Perhaps we should first randomly test all elected officials and government employees. Why should any of these get tax payer money for drug abuse? Lets get all or none.
  • slippery slope
    why stop there? why not have police thoroughly inspect their homes, tag their vehicles with tracking devices, make them give fingerprints and DNA samples, after all, if they aren't committing crimes then they have nothing to fear from random, unreasonable searches. right? fourth amendment? huh? i know, let's just criminalize poverty! we already spend more on incarceration than education.

    the very notion of drug testing is so unconstitutional it makes my head hurt. where exactly did the Founding Father's give Congress, the Executive or the Judicial branches the authority to determine what substances i, as a tax paying, informed, consenting adult, may or may not consume at my discretion? how is this NOT Big Brother looking into my lungs and veins and telling me what i can and cannot do with my own life? there is no Bigger Government than the one that tells me what plants i can grow, process and consume.
    • employees
      If you accept money from someone, you work for them. Plain and simple.

      Employees get paid and they answer to their employer in many, many ways, including being drug-free. Corporations take money from shareholders and therefore work for those shareholders; if the managers don't perform, their bosses (the shareholders) can get rid of them.

      Why do people think that money recipients in this case are exempt from accountability? They should be drug-free and should have to work at least part time for the paychecks they get from us taxpayers.
    • real crooks
      drug test the real criminals...our congressmen and women in washington!
    • Well Said
      My last "well said" comment was directed towards Jim.
    • Well said
      Very well said.
      • What would you do next?
        Yes, if you drug test, people will be refused money, and will be screwed, correct. And if you are a crack head who receives SSI for your 10 year old daughter because she is mentally challenged because her mother smoked crack while pregnant, and you use that money to buy more crack rather than feed and clothe her..... then guess what, you are already screwed. Think long term people. When are we going to chop the legs off the cycle and end it for good? When are we going to start demanding something in return for our free money? I am happy to give, I think SSI/Welfare can be useful, but give me something in return or don't take my money. If you want money/food/shelter, then here, take a parenting class, take this class on how to change a tire, how to put out a grease fire, how to fix a sink, how to balance a check book, how to hang a door, or paint a house. Do you get it? Stop giving it away, invest in services, i.e. drug testing, education, etc. Otherwise, you will continue to give welfare money to "parents" who buy their kids a fountain pop, hot fries, and a Twinkies for breakfast at Village Pantry and then go home after taking the kids to school because they couldn't wake themselves up in time to get the kids on the bus, and then sit on the couch all day. Quit blowing it out of proportion with the government employee argument for testing, they are doing a job (good or bad) they are doing something for that money. All I want is to know that my money is going to feed/clothe/protect a human being, not to meth/crack/glue, whatever. If you can't contribute (or simply just not drain our society) then yes, die off in the street, I'm sorry, I am, but better to stop the cycle now, then pay them to continue to poison their bodies and drain society and teach that. Then redirect the funds you were giving away for free to care for the child. Dems get their social service increase with education and social services, Repubs get their drug testing and accountability for the money we are giving away.
      • Highbrow conversation
        I knew this would spark some really deep conversation, congratulations to all involved. So what kind of test will you do? Hair sample or swab is the only thing that is not easily corrupted...expensive...if you do what most employers do, which is an unobserved urine test, it is the easiest thing in the world to beat, take some clean urine with you, masking agents, etc. Even if you do an observed urine screen, there are "Whizzinators" for both sexes that allow them to simulate the act and provide a clean sample...the drug users of the world are always 2 steps ahead of the people trying to catch them. I can assure you as someone who has worked in the Criminal Justice field for many years that this legislation may sound good to you as a hard working taxpayer, but in practice, it won't cut drug use among welfare recipients by 2%, people who want or have to use will use anyway, and they will figure out a way to beat the system, for a while or forever...this legislation is just political posturing...the cost and logistics of administering the program will be much more than you can comprehend and won't achieve the desired result...almost all of them will still be on welfare and using drugs both, and you will be paying for the testing facility, the testing equipment and supplies and the Welfare...the only people who will benefit from this legislation are the sposoring legislators, attorneys, and whoever gets the contract to conduct the testing. Heaven knows we would never expect legislators to come up with good jobs programs, and create some good paying jobs, so that unemployment would go down and there would be less people on Welfare to being with...as usual the legislator is trying to address the behavior and not what causes it...never works in practice.
        • How will we pay for this
          Everyone. Is saying tax payers don't want to pay for welfare recipients who are doing drugs but how will we pay for this bill? Cutting education, funding for planned parenthood? Nope taxpayers will pay. So those of us all ready struggling will continue to do so. Not saying that this isn't serious but for real is this apart of the most important things that Indiana Republicans can think of to help their citizens?
        • Hey, Mr. Jones
          You people who support this drug test proposal scare me much more than anyone I would meet on the street who has been using drugs and that includes the Governor.
        • Missing the big picture
          Ok I get it, everyone wants everyone who gets their tax dollars to be tested for drugs now, but aren't we missing the big picture? Welfare implies that there are children involved. I see this as a way to make sure that these kids are properly cared for as well. If someone is abusing drugs, then how can we be sure that welfare money is feeding their babies and not their habit? At the same time, it's a double edged sword, if the homeless and criminal population goes up because so many people get cut off, are we going to implement free rehab? Bottom line, everyone just needs to use birth control and get a job. And yes, those on unemployment should be drug tested too. It's not right to sit around smoking pot and suck on the government teet while the rest of use are working out butts off just trying to make ends meet without the help of government funding.
          • Seriously
            Drug tests for tax dollars...Ok well new rule then, all public college students have to take drug tests to. They receive tax dollars for an education we should not allow any students in to college without passing drug tests first.
          • Finally
            I agree, if you have to be drug tested to get a job.... Are we sending the message, "no drug test, get a check"?
          • Then what?
            So a welfare recipient fails a drug test and you cut them off, then what? Let them die in the streets? Who pays to clean that up? How would that look for the city for it to be FLOODED with dying homeless people. What's the plan for their kids? Put them into CPS and pay even higher taxes? This plan hasn't been thought out.
          • Great Idea
            I think this is a great idea. This could be a first step of many to start regulating how the welfare monies are distributed. Drug testing before job placement is also a good idea. Most companies drug test before they hire. Why shouldn't it be done beforehand. Save a lot of time and money in trying to place someone who is going to fail a test once they are offered a job.
          • Drug Testing
            You know what you get when you deny poor people welfare? Even more criminals than we already have.
          • If they want my tax $-Test them
            I agree with Jeff. Why should they get welfare checks for nothing. They should be tested.
          • Nuts!
            Its nuts to beleive that anyone should be held accountable for anything! Booo you Republican jerks!! With your fancy jobs and old fashioned work ethic!!! You think that just because you provide for your own consumption that you are so much better than me. Its not my fault I don't have the same drive! I should share in your production.
          • tax exemptions
            Hmmm, maybe homeowners who claim homestead and other property tax deductions should also be tested, just to make sure that druggies among them aren't gaming the system.
          • Gov
            Would the Governor be included in this? IF so I think he would have to resign since not only did he admit to using drugs in his past but he was indicted for selling them
          • Distract them with Classs Warfare
            More class warfare: Let's divert attention from the massive ripoffs at the top and instead focus our attention on the poor and the working class... Excellent plan.
          • Test them!
            4th Amendment? Bah! You want our tax dollars to help you out, you then have to submit to a simple drug test!

            What is unreasonable to require someone who wants money for nothing to have to at least qualify to get it?

          • Testing
            Which will cost more, paying for testing or paying unemployment on users?
          • Test
            You have to take a drug test to work in most cases. You should definitely have to take a drug test to receive tax dollars that hard working people are paying to support you. This should apply to unemployment as well. It's a no-brainer.
          • ?
            everyone in washington and in state capitals across the country are receiving my tax dollars, so i want them tested too.

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