Reader comments

On Drug testing for welfare benefits one of many bills worked on as Legislature nears deadline


majorfunding 1 year, 1 month ago

I have personally witnessed several Kansas farmers, purchase and consume illicit narcotics with money that they had received for Conservation Subsidies, and Commodity Subsidies.

They could take that money that the government pays them FOR not working, and buy drugs which could get them too high to work.

Almost 70% of Kansas farmers are getting that free government bucks. DRUG TEST THEM.


trinity 1 year, 1 month ago

Some-certainly not all, but some-of the EA workers who will be passing the judgment on just who needs a drug test at any given time are very disturbing individuals. This is going to be a mess; I can understand to a point, but I also have witnessed some pretty prejudiced and hateful attitudes from EA workers toward recipients. Also disturbing is this; if a recipient is found to be "dirty" for drugs, who exactly will provide treatment?? And moreover, who is going to PAY for said treatment?? What is the protocol going to be? Anyone know? I foresee a goldmine out there for treatment providers. One last thought-not everyone who receives benefits is unemployed! I wish those who are railing against welfare recipients would stop and consider that there are indeed some families who are eligible for assistance, yet work in very low-paying jobs and just aren't making ends meet. I lied-one more thought-the amount of money dumped in to farm subsidies and such is appalling; shall we start drug testing farmers, too? You know, just to make sure that CRP money isn't falling in to the wrong hands.


Liberal 1 year, 1 month ago

Just legalize the drugs, tax them and then who cares if they are using. Unless they are abusing and if that is the case take some of the tax money and provide rehab for those who abuse the privilege of having more freedom but, not acting responsibly.


HardwoodGoat 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm disgusted with most of the input here. Years ago I lost my job and for the first time in my life (28 at the time) collected unemployment benefits. My previous employer denied benefits and we did the whole phone court deal...6 months of benefits and not a single call from anyone. What I'm getting at is it's waaay too easy. Touch tone phone check in to fill up my "card". There was absolutely no face to face with anyone.

I also had to pay income tax for something that I "put into" nearly my whole life. I'm self employed now, after using the state maximum unemployment benefits to start a business in what many have coined as a hopeless economy.


deec 1 year, 1 month ago

Whoops! Florida drug testing loses another round.

"There is nothing so special or immediate about the government's interest in ensuring that TANF recipients are drug free so as to warrant suspension of the Fourth Amendment,” Barkett wrote. "The only known and shared characteristic of the individuals who would be subjected to Florida's mandatory drug testing program is that they are financially needy families with children.”


Curveball 1 year, 1 month ago

How about cutting back on AFDC payments for those who intentionally are single mothers and start collecting child support from the fathers instead of the taxpayers. Lawrence has a lot of so-called Single Mothers and we have to pay for it.


Joe Hyde 1 year, 1 month ago

From story: "The Senate on Thursday approved a bill requiring drug testing for recipients of welfare and unemployment benefits—and even legislators—who are suspected of drug use."

Suspected by whom, in what capacity of legal authority? Probable cause for "suspicion of use" based on which criteria? And which "drugs", or drug abuse markers, would these body-invasive searches test for? Nicotine and alcohol abuse (the top-ranked killers of Americans)? Illegal drugs? Prescribed drugs (or absence of same in patients who must take certain medicines to function in society)?

As Liberty275 (earlier post in this thread) said, "being unemployed or poor is not sufficient probable cause." To which I would add: Merely requiring the need for welfare assistance; suffering the fate of suddenly becoming unemployed and needing state unemployment; or being the recipient of any form of government assistance; none of these conditions constitute de facto evidence of drug use. Nor do such life circumstances, as a single criteria, lend a legitimate probable cause foundation for suspecting someone of drug use and compelling them to submit to drug testing.

This bill is a fool's errand, and I admire Senator Holland for not taking the bait.

And in another section of the story: "Secretary of State Kris Kobach promised action on immigration at the start of the 2013 legislative session, but thus far immigration measures have remained on a backburner."

Really? Well, I guess such inattention to your job is what can happen when you spend so much time making Fantasy Land plans to arrest and jail federal AT&F agents during the performance their duties.


i_read_things 1 year, 1 month ago

"State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, voted present, but passing on the measure."

Seriously?! Aren't you elected and paid to review, consider, and vote? Is he taking the chicken exit by dodging the vote or am I missing something?


notajayhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

"Every state that has tried drug testing welfare recipients has found out that it was a waste of tax monies and they also found out the welfare recipients had a lower overall percentage of drug use than the general population."

There simply is no way of knowing either of those to things, as you can only measure the results of those who actually submit to the testing. Those who allow their benefits to lapse or withdraw their application rather than submit to a drug screen are not part of the equation.


mustbeboard 1 year, 1 month ago

I agree with it.. if I have to take one for my job to pay for their welfare and food bill it is only fair. They eat a lot better than I do.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 1 month ago

Putting people on welfare to work is a great idea, but it ain't a magic bullet. Firstable, it'd require more government spending, and that's seen as a mortal sin by most Republicans these days. Second, not everyone on welfare is capable of working, whether it's because of a physical or other disability, or whether they are a single parent who can't afford the childcare that would allow them to leave the house. Making education and training available to those at or below the poverty level could also allow them to escape the trap of under and unemployment.

What's really necessary is to move away from the pettiness that drives current policy-- that anyone whoever needs assistance is an evil slacker in need of a final solution.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 1 month ago

Welfare should be make into some type of workfare, where you have to contribute to society some way to get your check. Just passing out money to people who did nothing to earn it is just wrong. Many on welfare appear to have it better than the working poor.


lionheart72661 1 year, 1 month ago

I think anyone applying for welfare and/or unemployment should be drug tested. I have to get drug tested for a job to pay for their benifits. As a p/t employee of a convenience store I see able bodied young people come in and use their vision card. And boy do they get mad when the machine is down and they can't buy their soda pop and candy with the vision card! They say.."I know I have money on their." I just want to say "No, you have my money on their" Get a job!!!!


mikekt 1 year, 1 month ago

I think that they should drug and alcohol test the legislature and the executive branch on a random basis ?

I'd love to find out what those guys are on that makes them act so foolishly ?

Or maybe they should be on something for ADHD, as they are into all sorts of trivial things while Rome burns .


chootspa 1 year, 1 month ago

I'd also like to know what the hell Marci Francisco was thinking when she voted on this one. Does she own shares in a drug testing company?


chootspa 1 year, 1 month ago

Of course it's not just about the fact that it's a huge waste of taxpayer money during a time when revenue is scarce. It's about reinforcing the notion that anyone receiving welfare is a bad person. A likely criminal who deserves to be treated like one.

Oh, and it's also about handing a huge chunk of that scare taxpayer money to drug testing companies.


skinny 1 year, 1 month ago

I have to be tested to earn my money that they take to give the people on welfare. It only makes sense to test them too!


jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Sometimes it's not about saving money, it's simply doing something because it makes us feel better about what we are doing.

Why not simply give welfare recipients cash? It's because there is the belief that some of that cash will be used in ways that violate our sensibilities. It might be only a small amount, but to prevent that, we've set up elaborate bureaucracies to ensure that that doesn't happen. Whether it's debit cards for the use at grocery stores, or vouchers for housing, or transportation vouchers, it all costs more than simply giving them cash. But we're willing to eat those extra costs simply to make us feel better that the charity we are giving goes for it's intended purposes.

Conceded, it costs more. But maybe it's just not about that.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 1 month ago

For those who blather about people who are employed being drug tested, clearly you have no clue as to why. Your employer can be liable for your actions as an employee.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ It is you that does not have a clue. Drug testing keeps insurance rates down and, if there is a workmans comp claim, it can be denied if drugs are found to be in the employees system. Although most bosses would choose to not have stoned employees, they would rather them be on time, be there every day, and do something while they are there.


Katara 1 year, 1 month ago

Every state that has tried drug testing welfare recipients has found out that it was a waste of tax monies and they also found out the welfare recipients had a lower overall percentage of drug use than the general population.

For those who blather about people who are employed being drug tested, clearly you have no clue as to why. Your employer can be liable for your actions as an employee. The State is not liable for the actions of those who receive government assistance.

Drug testing welfare recipients is simply just being punitive. Being poor is not a crime and those who are on government assistance should not be treated as criminals.


flipbackseamonster 1 year, 1 month ago

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UneasyRider 1 year, 1 month ago

Great idea, test all welfare recipients. Start with the Kochs and all elected officials. Specifically Brownback and his farm subsidy.


Jay_Bird 1 year, 1 month ago

Let's test the legislators first!


Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

This is a blatantly illegal search unless the authorities have probable cause. Being unemployed or poor is not sufficient probable cause. A similar Florida law has been rejected by the federal courts.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 1 month ago

Or we could keep giving them money with no accountability. We should test them and take the full costs of the tests out of their checks. Heck, they did not earn it anyway. After a period of time the welfare types can be classified into different groups and some then, could get on a once a year unannounced testing program. They should also have to show up in person to get their vision cards recharged. Same with SSI and other programs where, as some reports have it, 8 months of benefits to dead people get taken by family members. Costs of these programs, could be reduced substantially if they were managed properly. Part of that is drug testing. Working people have to take a drug screen. Freeloaders should get to also.


geekin_topekan 1 year, 1 month ago

Why not test everyone who receives a tax incentive of any kind?


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 1 month ago

I see nothing wrong with testing these three groups of people for drug use if there is probable cause. If they find out someone on welfare is using drugs then what? Deny them their check? What if they have children? Appoint an overseer or payee to make sure the money allocated for the children are spent on them? How much would all of this cost?

A lot I would think for the drug testing and salary for the payees and who is going to make sure they don't take some of the money for themselves? If they go to rehab will they still continue to receive benefits while they are in rehab? Will they have to prove that rehab was successful or continue to take drug tests as long as they are receiving benefits?

How would you apply all of this to legislatures and their families?


Bob Forer 1 year, 1 month ago

A waste of time and money. Similar laws have been passed in other states, and the money spent on the drug testing has always exceeded the amount of money "saved" by kicking drug users off the dole.

And by the way, terrible reporting. If I read the story correctly, only those "suspected of drug use" would be tested. What standard of suspicion would be required? I am sure the statute addresses this issue, but without the reporter setting forth the enunciated standards, we citizens are kinda left in the dark.


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