Drug testing is in these days. Already, Arizona and Missouri test anyone receiving government aid who's suspected of drug use. (In other words, leave your Bob Marley shirt at home.) In Florida, meanwhile, the humiliating process is guaranteed—everyone getting aid must also pee in a cup. On Monday alone, a panel in USA Today.Oklahoma approved one drug-testing measure, while Utah's governor signed a measure into law.
If tax dollars are heading in your direction, the thinking goes, we have to make sure you're not some junkie. Many frame the issue as one of fiscal responsibility—if you can afford to do drugs, you should not receive aid. (The extra dose of humiliation recipients face is just a side benefit, I guess.) It's not just those receiving aid who are suspect. Florida beefed up its laws this year with a measure requiring random drug tests for those receiving a state paycheck. Governor Rick Scott just signed it into law a week ago.
Of course, the governor himself is exempted, as are state legislators. The Daily Show had a more memorable episode (below) highlighting just how hypocritical the effort was. In Indiana, a bill to test welfare recipients was withdrawn when Democrats successfully attached a measure to make lawmakers undergo the same tests. Lawmakers, it seems, aren't the "sort" who need monitoring—just those suspicious folks who need the government for some temporary assistance or, you know, for their job in the case of Florida.
But in Colorado, conservative lawmakers have actually taken a consistent approach to the whole thing. As the Denver Post reports, the House Appropriations Committee passed a measure requiring drug testing for welfare recipients—as well as elected officials. The latter part was added by a Democrat who opposes the bill, but committee members of both parties approved the amendment unanimously. The lawmakers will have to pay for their own drug tests; welfare recipients, meanwhile, will get reimbursed if they pass. No word yet on how that squares with claims of fiscal prudence.
At least it's consistent. And, according to reports, it's spawned a new name for the committee: "Appropeeations."