To the editor:
The Kansas Legislature is currently considering a bill that creates a suspicion-less drug-testing program for cash assistance recipients. House Bill 2686 mandates that one-third of individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds submit to urine tests in order to remain eligible for assistance. An almost identical program in Florida made headlines last summer when it was enjoined by a federal judge mere weeks after its initial implementation. The courts ruled a similar program created in Michigan nearly a decade ago unconstitutional, as well.
It’s frustrating that some lawmakers in Kansas continue to assert that this program is needed in order to prevent taxpayer dollars from purchasing drugs. As amply demonstrated by experience in other states, this program will not save taxpayer dollars and will not be successful in identifying drug users. Studies have demonstrated that other states’ programs have had dismally low positive test rates because, in part, those receiving assistance aren’t actually using drugs at a higher rate than the general population.
Are Kansans ready to support a move by their representatives to establish an unconstitutional, unnecessary program that will send more money down the drain?