Archive for Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Drug testing for Kansas welfare recipients proposed

February 14, 2012


— A group of Kansas lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require a third of Kansas welfare recipients to pay to be tested for drugs.

Under the proposal, the state will refund the cost of the tests to anyone who tests negative for drugs. Someone who tested positive would have to undergo a drug evaluation and possibly be required to attend an education or treatment program.

A second positive test would require the person to attend an education or treatment program and remove him or her from welfare for a year. A third positive test would cause permanent removal from welfare.

The Kansas City Star reports a household that includes someone who is banned from the program would have to get aid from a state-approved third party.


Gary Anderson 5 years ago

I want the lawmakers tested! They are the ones hurting this wonderful country!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

Apples and oranges. Requiring the Catholic Church to treat its employees the same way that other employers have to treat theirs is and equal enforcement issue, while making welfare recipients pee in a bottle is an assumption of guilt with no probable cause (in Florida where they already try this, 98% of tests came up negative.)

This is a 4th amendment issue, but for some reason, some right-wingers have no problem with a police state, especially when they can use it to humiliate poor people.

cozborn 5 years ago

how is this a fourth amendment issue?

deec 5 years ago

Judge Mary Scriven issued a temporary injunction against the state, writing in a 37-page order that the law could violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on illegal search and seizure.

“The constitutional rights of a class of citizen are at stake,” Scriven wrote.

Read more here:

RDE87 5 years ago

I support this bill. I do not see a reason why tax payer’s money should go to someone who is using them to buy drugs, or subsiding their living while their income is being used to support their drug addiction.

However, what is the person cannot afford the test in the first place? Or is the cost of the test simply netted from their welfare funds?

Gary Anderson 5 years ago

Let's test everyone then...would you support that? It's not fair or wise to trust politicians with who gets tested and who doesn't.

parrothead8 5 years ago

Every other state that has tried this has abandoned it as an expensive, miserable failure. Ask Florida about the fewer than 1% of their welfare recipients who ended up testing positive.

chootspa 5 years ago

So you support simply giving our taxpayer money to drug testing companies for a useless test? That's all this will do. Just ask Florida. The program costs more than it saves, and they also got to pay for the court costs as people challenged the portion requiring them to pay for their own drug test to prove that welfare recipients are no more likely to be doing drugs than the general population.

Mike1949 5 years ago

I agree to a point. I have a problem with people on welfare who use illegal drugs. But I have hit hard times once or twice in my life, though not long because I was embarrassed to be on welfare, which made me work that much harder to get back on my feet. (but back to the point) I can tell you from experience, when you are on welfare, you can't afford drug tests. Heck, most people can't afford doctors, dentists, just about everything medical related.

Why don't they switch it to this and most people wouldn't have a problem with it. The state pays for it and if you test positive for illegal drugs (and mind you, they have to take prescription drugs into consideration) they do the drug prevention, etc. and the welfare recipient pays for it. That way, it doesn't cost 98% who don't use drugs on this wasteful political maneuver that is another unnecessary cost to the state (and let me tell you, this is some republican running for office and is doing the fear mongering thing again like all republicans).

And you wonder why we can't balance the budge!

kochmoney 5 years ago

What part of "only 2%" did you not understand? This costs the taxpayers millions of dollars to unnecessarily test 98% of the applicants who are already shamed when they walk in the door. Plus it cost taxpayer money to defend and have parts of it thrown out in court as unconstitutional. It's a terrible, terrible idea.

William McCauley 5 years ago

(quote)1- Florida's drug testing law was an utter failure with only 2% of those tested being positive. It cost the state more to test than it was saving in welfare payments.(quote)

The reports I saw said it cost the state of FL, 178 million bucks to test all the folks there, but they saved the state 60K on the 2% who tested positive. So yea sounds like a great use of tax payer money to me, just look at the return on the investment, that is a pretty good return, 60K in savings.

Katara 5 years ago

Mmhmm. Just like the return on our money for the KBA audit!

William McCauley 5 years ago

deet de dee, you just now get that sarcasm... ;-)

James Roper 5 years ago

This would apply to corporate welfare recipients also?

situveux1 5 years ago

I agree with the sentiment of the bill, but if they're on welfare I doubt they can afford the cost of a drug test, even if it's reimbursed, they won't have the money to begin with. Plus, it takes months for the state to cut anybody a check. I'm glad they are making plans to get users some help too. I too don't want tax dollars going to drug users, but there's another side to this issue for people who test positive... They need help and this might be another way for them to get it.

somedude20 5 years ago

I just had a friend buy one of those $50 and up mixes and guess what, old boy popped on the test (but the company who made it offers $150 if you fail...lets see if they pay him)

zzgoeb 5 years ago

Florida has this...the supporters SWORE the recipients were "druggies" least 70 percent of them. Well, guess what, after several months, it's turning out at 2 percent...Has anyone read the 4th amendment? How does this fit into "less government"? Oh, wait that's only for the 1 percent!

KSManimal 5 years ago

"My question, is which lawmaker has a vested interest with the testing companies?"

Since the same bill is showing up across the country, it likely comes from ALEC. Kansas Senators Wagle and Merrick are on the ALEC board of directors.

On ALEC's "private enterprise board" you will find folks from GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, among others. Anyone wanna bet those companies are involved in the manufacture and sale of drug testing kits?

This is nothing more than a hand-over of tax dollars to drug companies, with an insult to poor folks built in. Shameful.

parrothead8 5 years ago

All Senators and representatives receiving government salaries...

Lawrence Morgan 5 years ago

Vertigo, you are right on! Great comments..

muddfoot55 5 years ago

Drug testing needs to be written into the "argeement," that anyone receiving any form of public assistance, that testing WILL occur. Without notice, on the spot. It goes without saying that those found in possession of illegal substances (arrested and or convicted) should automatically be dropped from assistance and not receive benefits for x amount of time. There has to be some sort of accountability on the part of those receiving benefits.
As an operator of an automobile, I have a legal responsibility to follow the traffic laws, carry insurance and drive soberly........ Its a privilege not a right. Why should receiving public assistance be any different.?

Gary Anderson 5 years ago

So I want you drug tested in order to get your driver's that ok?

pizzapete 5 years ago

Why is it ok to discriminate against people who use drugs? Bring back the inquisition and save the state some real money.

KansasVoices 5 years ago

Test everyone in the Capitol. Legislators and Lobbyists. If a person or any organization receives any funds from the State of Kansas --- here is your cup and there is your curtain.

Wouldn't you want to know what Governor Brownback was "on" when he endorsed Rick Perry?

And Secretary Kobach, what was in the Kool-Aid you drank at the CPAC meeting?

chootspa 5 years ago

Has anyone drug tested you recently? You're sounding a lot like you need one.

Steve Bunch 5 years ago

I'm OK with this if it includes recipients of corporate welfare.

beatrice 5 years ago

Don't forget the bankers on Wall Street and the military as well.

And if you drive on American roads, you too are a recipient, so you too get to wizz in a cup!

I love to see so many on the right saying they would prefer that GM and Chrysler had been allowed to go under and hundreds of thousands of Americans be left without jobs. It must drive you crazy to know that helping GM and Chrysler actually has proven successful and has helped working Americans, not just bankers.

somedude20 5 years ago

only ten? Heck, I can recall have 5 in just one year. Go Marines!

Liberty275 5 years ago

I was a short E4 in 82 , like 5 days from going back to the world and had to take a drug test. If I remember right it was related to telling a boy with a gold bar to have relations with himself (though I said it with less tact at the time).

I never found out how it turned out, but I have a pretty good idea. I think they lost it, because I have an honorable discharge. I like to think the Bird lost it, but it was probably the Captain or Top.

Matthew Herbert 5 years ago

how about instead of spending money to test them we simply make it policy to revoke one's right to receive welfare payments for one year if they are caught with a controlled substance.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Your scenario lacks a jury of one's peers. That's in the bill of rights somewhere. Even with a jury, we'd still have to test everyone guilty of any crime on account of that equal protection mumbo jumbo. Do you want to pee in a cup because you got caught not using your turn signals?

I kindly submit that you solution is flawed.

Matthew Herbert 5 years ago

"caught with a controlled substance" implied that they were arrested for and convicted of that controlled substance. Your turn signal analogy does not apply, unless while being pulled over for the lack of turn signal drug paraphenalia was discovered in your car.

acg 5 years ago

For a brief moment in time, between 2009 and 2010, my family went seriously broke and I was forced to swallow my pride and apply for insurance for the kids so they would be covered while we got back on our feet. During the time I had my children on state insurance I would've been happy to suppy urine for an analysis. However, I would also like to see the legislators tested, as well. I also agree with whomever above said anyone receiving money or subsidies from the state should also be tested. If we're going to play this "who's high?" game, let's freakin' play! P*ss tests all around!!

beatrice 5 years ago

I wonder which legislators have stock in companies that test urine for drugs?

Liberty275 5 years ago

The same crooks with ties to big drunkard ignition interlocks.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

I do have mixed feeling on this. But one thing everybody should realize is welfare is not a right.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

Neuter them too... if you can't feed 'em don't breed 'em!

deec 5 years ago

I wonder if this believer in eugenics is also in favor of abortion.

kernal 5 years ago

I'm also wondering if Florida's numbers are different than what they might be in many other states, as Florida has a higher percentage of an older population than most of the U.S. The older populations, who I consider to be the pre-Baby Boomer generations, aren't as likely to be drug abusers as those of us born post-WWII (that's World War Two).

It's time our state legislators quit putting carts before the horses when they come up with these brain storms which get the state in hot water and cost more money in the long run.

Katara 5 years ago

You aren't including prescription drug abuse. Given that pain pills are prescribed quite often for the elderly for various ailments, it would be very easy for them to get addicted and very easy for them to get their drug of choice refilled often.

punchee 5 years ago

I love that our representatives are getting their ideas from Facebook. Next up, "RESOLVED: Please repost if you hate cancer and love kittens..."

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Can Kansas politicians get any dumber?

beatrice 5 years ago

Oh my gosh that is funny! Oh, the way you turned that around -- from Kansas politicians to Democrats in Washington. Oh what a clever turn. Really. Oh my gosh ... my side ... it hurts from laughing so hard. Really.

I'll bet you are the brilliant guy who came up with "I know you are but what am I?," aren't you? Such a card. A wit that rivals Will Rogers and Dorothy Parker you have.

"Only if Obama, Reid and Pelosi were in charge." Oh ... you clever person you.

beatrice 5 years ago

No, but I did hear that Arizona just approved support for the arts for another ten years.

nekansan 5 years ago

Fine! As long as it is also a requirement for any and all public office.......

chootspa 5 years ago

If anyone needs proof our politicians are totally unserious, here it is. Propose a law that costs more than it saves all for the purpose of demonizing welfare recipients with an inaccurate stereotype.

Stuart Sweeney 5 years ago

I love it. The bunch of knotheads, aka legislators, want to enact legislation that will repay those who test negative for drugs. So they must assume someone applying for welfare has the money for drug testing. If they can afford to pay for drug test why would they apply for welfare? Hey dumbies they are applying for welfare because they are broke and need a hand!

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Because absolutely everyone who receives welfare is a good for nothing drug addict, eh? You swing a mighty broad brush.

kansanjayhawk 5 years ago

Anyone who takes public aid should expect to meet certain expectations of the State. If you don't want to be drug tested simply don't apply for welfare benefits. We certainly need to begin to make welfare have some strings attached!

tomatogrower 5 years ago

Then you are willing to pay more taxes for these tests? Read the posts above. It cost Florida a lot more than it saved them. 2% doing drugs in Florida, a gateway for drugs? I'd bet you'd bust less than that in Kansas. There are a lot of strings attached to welfare. Didn't you notice changes during the Clinton presidency? Do a little research.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

They should not be paid back. Drug screening should be part of the program, with the costs deducted from those who choose to leech off the taxpayer instead of work.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

and as has been already mentioned, where is a person on welfare supposed to find money for a drug test in the first place? Not your problem, right?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

No its our problem. The money for the test is easy, just deduct it from their check. While we are at it, we can demand they clean city parks or perform some other type of work to continue getting the free money.

beatrice 5 years ago

Another comic genius!

Seriously, who know that America's Next Top Comic could be found right here on this website. Such brilliance. Examine brains indeed. My that is deep. Comedy on so many levels. Just brilliant. Really.

Liberty275 5 years ago

"While you’re at it, examine the brains of all Obama voters. "

Does KU have an electron microscope we can borrow?

Glenn Reed 5 years ago

Drug testing welfare recipients hasn't worked so well in Florida. About the only good thing to come of it was giving Aasif Mandvi an opportunity to make this excellent piece:

So, anyway... It's not a cost saving measure. It's about trying to keep public money free of drugs, otherwise the legislators would submit to a drug test simply to demonstrate a point.

Essentially, this is about embarrassing people. Making them feel shame.

There's other ways to make people feel shame.

We could post their photos on a website. Wearing costumes. Maybe just nude.

We could make them wear state-approved poor people uniforms any time they're in public. Make it a crime for poor people to wear anything else.

Any other ideas?

deec 5 years ago

A dollar sign with the diagonal "no" line through it attached to their clothing?

Glenn Reed 5 years ago

Eh, I just noticed a typo. I meant to say, "It's NOT about trying to keep public money free of drugs..."

Katara 5 years ago

Brand a "P" on their forehead.

I mean, we are already into the humiliation part. Why not add some pain into the mixture?

cozborn 5 years ago

Can any of you people calling out the fourth amendment please explain how this violates it?

cozborn 5 years ago

With that logic can sue a potential employer for a mandatory UA?

cozborn 5 years ago

With that logic can sue a potential employer for a mandatory UA?

deec 5 years ago

Judge Mary Scriven issued a temporary injunction against the state, writing in a 37-page order that the law could violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment ban on illegal search and seizure.

“The constitutional rights of a class of citizen are at stake,” Scriven wrote.

Read more here:

pace 5 years ago

I am all for the Koch bros, the legislature, the governor getting drug and alcohol testing on a regular basis. Little programs should be based on "Don't let legislators vote drunk". . Any corporation receiving the tax cuts or loop holes of corporate welfare should have an audit of their books as well.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Typical republicans = more and more and more big government.

jasonthesane 5 years ago

I think you're overestimating the frequency of testing in the workplace. Many companies have cut back on their testing programs in order to save money.

I also think your statement about safety sensitive workers is a little off target. There may be a zero tolerance policy with a lifetime ban for some categories or for some employers but that's not the case for all safety sensitive workers.

denak 5 years ago

....Someone who tested positive would have to undergo a drug evaluation and possibly be required to attend an education or treatment program. A second positive test would require the person to attend an education or treatment program and remove him or her from welfare for a year.....

Putting aside the Constitutional issues, just who do you think is going to end up paying for these assessments and treatment programs? Right now, there are four ways that residential drug treatment is paid for---three of them via the tax payer. There is private insurance. Then there is SB(Senate Bill) 123, which is for those who are guests of the Department of Corrections, and then there are AAPS waivers that the state gives and the state pays for, and then there is Medicaid. It use to be that the majority of individuals who went through residential drug treatment (Intermediate treatment for 28 days) were funded through AAPS. But the AAPS program has basically imploded. They are getting less and less funding which means that those who need AAPS waivers, are not getting funded OR they are being put down further on the list after Medicaid. Those who are coming to treatment who are funded with Medicaid are coming with multiple and severe psychiatric illnesses. These are not people who hold jobs, they do not have private insurance and they are quite often homeless. Almost every single one of them come to treatment with a long history of abuse and trauma. The people who might pop poisitve on this test are already going to be known to workers in the social services. There children will probably already be on KVC's radar. This testing isn't going to bag the single mom who is going to college or the family where the dad is laid off and they need food stamps. The people who are going to get caught are the people they already know about. Kicking them off food stamps isn't going to solve anything. It's not going to save money. If they pop, they have to get an assessment from RADAC, which the state will pay for. And then they will get sent to Intermediate treatment, which the state will pay for and, in the meantime, if their kids are not in state custody, they will be put in state custody, which the state will pay for. Tell me again, how is this going to save the tax payer money????

This is nothing more than political grandstanding. The powers that be are counting on the fact that most people don't know how drug treatment is funded in this state. It sounds good as a election sound bite but the reality is very different. The tax payer is going to pay MORE, not less.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

I could understand testing someone who has been arrested in the past for drugs, or someone that a social worker suspects might be using drugs, but what is the purpose of wasting money on testing everyone? I thought Republicans favored saving money and smaller government? I wonder what donors brother-in-law from Florida needs a six figure salary to administer this program? Also sounds like a way to make producers of drug testing richer at the taxpayer's expense.

Linda Endicott 5 years ago

Why do people always seem so eager to think the worst about the poor?

notaubermime 5 years ago

The need to isolate ourselves from the financial misfortunes of the poor. If there is something which they are doing wrong or something that is inherently wrong with them, it reassures us that we will not suffer their dismal circumstances.

werekoala 5 years ago

Wow, we're an opinionated bunch...

My two cents? I'm generally opposed to giving money to drug addicts. That's why I donate to charity, but never give the Usual Suspects downtown a dime.

That said, I'm also a pragmatist. And so I'm only going to be in favor of this if it saves us more money than it costs. Otherwise, we're just throwing money we don't have at the limbic system...

And from everything I've read, the poor people are LESS likely to be on drugs than the general population.

Stands to reason, drugs cost money. Poor people don't have any money. Therefore, by the transitive property, poor people don't have drugs!

miniflavors 5 years ago

I think that woud be a great Idea...IF the Government did that , 3/4 of them would be kicked off for good...There goes Trillions of dollars restored. Now that is the best Idea I have heard yet..... Then lets cut the Presidents Check in 1/2......Then the X-presidents.....We don't need to pay them either........Lets cut there pay right off....They can get a job and earn money.... LEts seeeeee.....what next......the House....??? :)

skinny 5 years ago

If they want the money they'll get tested! If not, they won't! I have to get tested to work, so I beleive if I have to give them my hard earned money, then they should be tested as well! get're done!!

jasonthesane 5 years ago

So you're okay with the government taking even more of your hard earned money to support this testing program?

Liberty275 5 years ago

If they want to shoot deer they'll get tested! If not, they won't! I have to get tested to work (not me, my employer trusts me), so I beleive (raelly?) if I have to give them the privilege of killing my fellow animals, then they should be tested as well! get're done!!

Your enthusiasm for virtually if not intentionally punishing the poor will turn around and bite you. Every time a poor person's rights are violated, all of our rights are diminished. Just because I despise the left and that band of hypocrites doesn't men you guys on the right get a free pass for selling out your own freedom and being equally hypocritical for screaming "small government" then screaming "more government". Pick a side. Or don't. Just stay off my lawn.

Mary Alexander 5 years ago

The only thing I have to ask is did you have to pay for your test for employment? I never did the company paid for them. What they are asking is for those on welfare to pay for the test which really isn't right. If the state wants them to have it they should pay for it and if the person fails then remove them from welfare. But I still thank this is a waste of money.

progressive_thinker 5 years ago

I am posting this comment with the understanding that I will likely be severely pummeled, primarily by those with whom I would traditionally agree with.

My view is that dismissing the Florida experiment as a failure is quite premature, and based on faulty research design to study the impact of the program.

First off, the conclusion that the positive drug test rate was 2% is flawed. In fact, another 2% refused the test. In many circles, refusal of the drug test is treated the same as a positive drug test. For example, if a driver refuses to submit to a breath alcohol test, they receive sanctions nonetheless.

The bigger issue, however, is that the Florida experiment does not address the deterrent value of a testing program. We can never know how many drug users were confronted by the program with a choice about their usage, and then wisely chose to discontinue usage. In dong so, they likely able to improve their functioning in the community, hopefully becoming self sufficient.

It is an unfortunate reality that substance abuse is closely tied with mental illness, and particularly mental illness that is not being properly cared for. If you care for more details, Google "Dual Diagnosis." Self medication among the mentally ill is without a doubt rampant. Many of these unfortunates come to public assistance agencies for help with their daily needs. Having a means of deterring self medication, or alternatively, getting folks who test positive into appropriate screening and treatment could have a long term benefit to the assistance recipient and to the community as a whole.

That said, I await the keyboard lashing.......

Liberty275 5 years ago

"The bigger issue"

You never even get close to it.

The bigger issue is the rights violation. We could kill all the rapists and the US would be a better place. Sure, a few dumb frat boys and clinically ill psycopervs would get the chair along with a seasoning of innocent men and women that couldn't afford a bigger lawyer. Do we kill all the rapists for the common good? Why not? Because it's a rights violation.

I appreciate what seems to be a well reasoned and factual argument from an unexpected direction (given you moniker), but I hope your "forgetting" the real issue is a ruse cooked up for the benefit of our Dark Lord.

denak 5 years ago

Whereas I do not disagree at all with what you say about mental illness and self-medicating, I do not think mandating treatment is the way to go. First, an addict has to want to get clean. An addict has to get clean for himself or herself. Not for her children. Not for their family. Not to save their welfare benefits, but for themselves. I work at a drug and alcohol rehab. I can't tell you how many clients walk through those doors because they are one step away from doing serious prison time and they were ordered there by a judge. Or they are one step away from having their parental rights terminated and they were ordered there by KVC or TFI or some other foster care agency. And sadly, the majority don't make it. Intermediate treatment is not the end. It is the beginning of the beginning and as long as people expect an addict to be "cured" after 28 days, nothing positive is going to happen. Being punitive is not the way to approach this issue. If the state wants to drug-test every welfare reciepient, fine. I don't agree with it on different grounds but it is a total excercise in futility if the only way they are going to approach this is to kick people off the rolls or to order treatment. No, there has to be much more done and they can start with providing mental health med vouchers to those that do have duel diagnoses. Let them do Intermediate treatment. It will give them a safe place to get stable and help identify needs. Then after intermediate treatment, make it a requirement that they must attend x number of AA/NA meetings a week and have their sponser verify that they did. Then give the person a med voucher to get their Abilify or Lithium or whatever anti-depressant they are on and make it mandatory that they attend one to two mental health sessions a week. The counselor can fill out a form and send it in. Will this take money? Yes, it will but in the long run it is going to be cheaper than housing them in prison. The person who really wants help is going to want all of this. If the person pops and they just don't give a crap and they don't want help, fine kick them off but the majority of people who are going to pop are going to do so because they have more serious underlying issues and if the outcome really is to help people become more self-sufficient, then we need to have a more comprehensive, whole body approach. However, I'm not naive enough to believe any of that is going to happen. The powers that be view being poor as a moral failing just as they see addiction as a moral failing. This is all about sticking it to the poor. It is a nice election sound bite but it isn't really going to solve any real issues and the people that need help the most, aren't going to get it.

Liberty275 5 years ago

This is clearly an illegal search and the SCOTUS will rule it unconstitutional.

Crazy_Larry 5 years ago

Breathalizers for everyone of them before they go to the floor to vote.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Further, how many children do you want to starve to punish momma for being a cluckhead?

pace 5 years ago

I think testing anyone who wants a hunting license, fishing license, permit to carry and a drivers license should also be tested and retested on a random basis.

Maddy Griffin 5 years ago

Aren't our legislators paid with the public's tax money, just like folks on welfare? Let's just test everyone. Then we can pidgeon-hole everyone into a "user/non-user" category.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Are about a third dark-skinned?

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