Archive for Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Drug testing bill goes to governor

April 3, 2013


— Kansas residents applying for welfare or unemployment benefits would have to submit to drug tests under legislation that won final legislative approval on Tuesday, though Gov. Sam Brownback has yet to say whether he plans to sign it.

The bill would require the Department of Children and Family Services to screen individuals for illegal drug use when they apply for unemployment or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, benefits. For anyone who tests positive for drugs, the state would provide mandatory drug treatment and job skills training funded by TANF or Medicaid.

Providing that drug treatment would cost between $2,200 and $6,300 per person, according to estimates provided during Senate debate on the bill in February. The legislation also requires that elected officials and some state employees undergo drug testing if there were a reasonable suspicion about their behavior.

Senate Vice President Jeff King, the bill’s primary sponsor, said the measure strikes a balance between being good stewards with public resources and trying to help people suffering from substance abuse kick their habits and lead productive lives.

“Of all the drug testing bills in the nation, this is one of the most focused on giving people an opportunity to improve their lives and to see that their children are taken care of,” said King, an Independence Republican.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said though the bill has provisions for treatment and job skills training it still perpetuates the view that poor residents on state assistance are drug abusers.

“We’ll see how it works, but it singles out a segment of society and stereotypes those people as drug users,” said Hensley, a Topeka Democrat. “I still think if it applies to these individuals who receive public funds, then it should also apply to CEOs of companies who receive economic incentives from government.”

A spokeswoman for Brownback said the governor hadn’t reviewed the bill or decided whether he would sign it into law. The bill is expected to be put before the governor in the next two weeks for his signature. The Senate voted 29-9 on Tuesday to accept changes made to the bill by the House last week.

The TANF program provided about $42 million in benefits for about 32,000 Kansas adults and children during fiscal 2012, which ended in June.

The bill also would require the Department of Administration to establish a drug screening program based on reasonable suspicion of illegal drug use for legislators, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and certain public safety officials.

The rules also would cover state mental health positions, along with employees at the Kansas School for the Blind, Kansas School for the Deaf and state veterans agencies. It also covers all state law enforcement authorized to carry weapons, corrections officers, parole officers and heads of state agencies appointed by the governor.


Water 1 year ago

Here, maybe this will help.

I've been an advocate of equal taxation for years but obviously the wealthy just keep cheating us out of taxes due.


oldbaldguy 1 year ago

I represent a lot of kids and parents in child of need of care cases. This is one more obstacle in their lives. There are provisions now to allow UAs when needed. Applying this state wide will be a complete waste of money.


Biscayne 1 year ago

Yes, this is GREAT! about time.


Steven Gaudreau 1 year ago

This is a great way to make families already suffering from the fallout out of drug using parents to suffer an even more horrific life. Welfare is not what's killing our nation. It may need reform but this is not right. How are these already malnurished kids going to be fed?


JayhawkFan1985 1 year ago

Big brother from our big government is watching you...if they don't think you're one of us. Which you're not.


akt2 1 year ago

Yesterday while I was shopping I overheard a couple of women talking. One was telling the other that she finally has an appointment at SRS regarding her application. Then she went on to say how much she would be getting a month. The conversation ended with them agreeing that would be more than she makes working. I think maybe a second job would be more appropriate. As for the false positives, they look at ranges. If you are blowing out the high end of a range, then chances are it's not a false positive. They can do a repeat test and draw blood the second time. Blood tests are highly accurate.


voevoda 1 year ago

What are they going to do about the false positive results of these tests? Even ordinary food items, such as poppy seed bagels, can result in a positive drug test. So can over-the-counter cold remedies, ibuprofen,naproxen, sleep aids, even some vitamins. Many prescription drugs also give false positives, including the novocain dentists use.

Persons who are denied benefits or forced into mandatory drug rehabilitation programs because of false positives will have good reason to sue--and they'll win, too. So there will be those extra expenses as well.


JJE007 1 year ago

The job of our government is to create as many criminals as possible...who don't work in "our" government. If everyone is a criminal, then the entire nation can be enslaved. "Our" government is beyond reproach. Well, most of it is. Whomever is in power is perfectly fine with creating laws that give it power. Big brother wants your 'nads and lives in their dirty hands. Equality is a myth and the groping hands of our leaders grasp at wages and goodwill FAR more than OTHER slackers.

Lawyers are bought. Legislators are bought, LAWS are bought. We are being enslaved. We are being sold. We are being beaten and traded in the new world order of corporate "people".



lionheart72661 1 year ago

Unemployment due to layoff....NO! But the ones that just don't want to work then yes. I do pay for their benefits through my taxes.


reality_check79 1 year ago

A simple quick UA costs someone on diversion/probation 17-20 bucks... I see that as a small fee when some people receive 450 a week, work for cash, and donate plasma for another 50-70 a week... No reason to allow people to sit around like some have been for over a year collecting money while the rest of us work...


IKU57 1 year ago

I see a lot of complaints from big government lovers, the government will not be competent enough to administer drug tests...drug tests.....yet these same people think the leviathan Obamacare, the most massive government takeover on the face of the a good thing.

Yes. That seems like rational thinking.


William Weissbeck 1 year ago

If my calculator is functioning 32,000 receiving $42 million in benefits comes to $1,312 per person. Most likely they aren't all on drugs, but if they were, it would cost more to test them than the money given them. And what happens to the GOP's imaginary facts when it turns out that only 1 or 2 percent of these people test positive?


tomatogrower 1 year ago

For a small, government who wants to cut spending, Brownback can sure find ways to spend money.


ferrislives 1 year ago

Does this law apply in any way to current recipients of welfare, or only new recipients?


mikekt 1 year ago

I think that drug and alcohol testing should be mandatory for state legislators, the governor and all cabinet level officials .

Often, after reading the latest dispatch from Topeka, I think to myself " those people are high on something ........and it ain't Jesus " !!!!!!


akt2 1 year ago

Think how many abusers will crop up. They will be testing for legal drugs also. Hopefully you will have a prescription in your name and aren't buying them on the street or taking Grandma's meds. There is quite a list on the drug screen panels. Amphetamines, Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Antidepressants, Opiates to name a few. It would probably an interesting experiment if nothing else. If they really want to make it interesting they could do the initial drug screen that everyone will be anticipating, and then start in with the random testing.


consumer1 1 year ago

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said though the bill has provisions for treatment and job skills training it still perpetuates the view that poor residents on state assistance are drug abusers.

If it looks like a skunk, smells like a skunk, I'm gonna believe it is a skunk.


Agnostick 1 year ago

I agree with this. Too bad this law is just a limp-wristed, "feel-good" measure for the nicotine companies.

I wouldn't be surprised if most of the "legislators" (using that term very loosely) behind this show weren't heavily subsidized by the nicotine peddlers.


sturgen 1 year ago

So are they to test for every check? Four tests a month? These people obviously are unable to perform math if this is supposed to save money. So now instead of paying postage to send checks out, now we have to pay more office people to run it, pay for lab costs, pay for lab techs, then pay for the huge new treatment center? I'm sure the ten people you will be able to kick off unemployment will cover these monthly costs. Not to mention all the legislature scrambling to cover their xyanex and painkiller addictions. Sorry Mr Brownsack taking your wife's pills is drug abuse. We'll see how many of them are still able the check in on the floor when half the body is in their mandatory treatment programs. However this crap will only effect poor and unemployed and make a strained system only cost ten times as much. Too bad the real abuse will just slip out of our hands as per usual. This is ignorance based legislation, where are we Texas? The sad part about these fools and us, is the new statement all around the world in regards to stupid legislative moves is; " holy s@8t, that is stupid, where are we kansas?" Perhaps we should skip the drug BS and just build a bigger treatment center for what I'm assuming will cost much less than implementation of this program, to help folks rather than punishing them under the guise of "help" nah that just makes sense, not our thing here in Kansas anymore.


meggers 1 year ago

I don't agree with any of this, but the unemployment piece is especially troubling. Unemployment is funded by the employee and employer, similar to Social Security and Medicare. Would they also suggest that people submit to a drug test before applying for benefits under those programs, as well?

I suspect this is just a scheme to allow the administration to take credit for improved unemployment numbers and a reduction in people needing welfare assistance. In reality, they are really just cutting those services for people for reasons completely unrelated to need, even for people who paid into unemployment with the expectation that it would be available to them should they ever find themselves needing it.


Izabelsmom 1 year ago

Aaaand what about the Kansans currently receiving assistance?


jhawkinsf 1 year ago

We establish elaborate and redundantly redundant bureaucracies, spending millions, so that we can save a nickel. Does that make sense? Of course not. Unless, we really, really want to save that particular nickel. Maybe this isn't about economic common sense. Maybe it's about making sure that that particular nickel doesn't wind up in the hands of someone who we really, really don't want to have that nickel. Even if it costs much more than a nickel to ensure that.


GUMnNUTS 1 year ago

Does this mean we can have Kobach tested?


question4u 1 year ago

"The legislation also requires that elected officials and some state employees undergo drug testing if there were a reasonable suspicion about their behavior."

If applied to elected officials this bill could cost the state a fortune, unless you think that alcohol, idiocy, or brain damage are sufficient by themselves to account for things like indecently exposing yourself in public while on a Congressional trip to the Holy Land, joking about murdering immigrants from helicopters while addressing the Kansas House, publicly accusing someone of bribery without a shred of evidence to support your allegations and then claiming that you were misunderstood, etc., etc.

Yes, by all means, let's test our elected officials and get them the help that they desperately need.


Hooligan_016 1 year ago

And they are using TANF to pay for the drug screenings. What an absolute waste of money.


viva_la_revolucion 1 year ago

Why no testing for alcohol or nicotine? Oh that's right. State gets to collect taxes on those.


Paul R Getto 1 year ago

More work for lawyers and more money wasted chasing chimeras.


Haiku_Cuckoo 1 year ago

Peeing in a cup in exchange for free money is a small price to pay. I question the return on investment though. If the state finds itself spending more money on drug tests than money it saves by withholding funds from druggies then I hope the program is quickly scrapped. Either that or deduct the cost of the drug test from the recipient's benefits over time.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year ago

"The legislation also requires that elected officials and some state employees undergo drug testing if there were a reasonable suspicion about their behavior."

So why assume that someone applying for assistance is abusing drugs, with no requirement of reasonable suspicion?


lionheart72661 1 year ago

Good, I have to undergo drug testing for a job so if I'm paying their benefits they need to be screened too.


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