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Drug Testing for Unemployment Benefits

House Speaker Paul Ryan proudly unveiled new legislation Sunday that would allow states to require unemployed Americans seeking welfare cash...
  1. DroppedYourPocket
    IMG_0646.jpg Image: Paul Ryan TwitterHouse Speaker Paul Ryan proudly unveiled new legislation Sunday that would allow states to require unemployed Americans seeking welfare cash assistance to first pass a drug test.

    The White House says President Donald Trump will sign it into law.

    Ryan touted the bill by posting a photo of himself on Twitter, smiling next to Rep. Kevin Brady, the Republican from Texas who authored the bill rolling back Obama-era regulations on drug testing by employers. “Another one heads to Trump’s desk,” Ryan wrote. “This legislation allows states to have drug testing to receive federal unemployment benefits.”

    But available data shows states actually tend to lose money drug testing welfare recipients, and attempted rollouts of similar programs in states like Arizona and Florida have ended badly. At least 10 states currently reserve the option to drug test benefit recipients, though it’s unclear any of them have been successful.

    In fact, a 2015 ThinkProgress analysis found that seven states –  Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah – had spent a combined $1 million to uncover exactly 407 drug users.

    Arizona in 2009 became the first state to pass a drug-testing program for welfare recipients. Approximately 87,000 people were tested between 2009 and 2014, during which time a grand total of three people tested positive, according to an analysis by Mic. The net savings from withholding benefits from drug users in Arizona were reportedly $3,500 — quite a different figure from the $1.7 million state lawmakers had promised.

    And in Florida, a federal judge struck down the state’s drug-testing law as unconstitutional in 2013, prompting the state of Georgia to abandon plans for a similar program. Florida state data also indicated that the testing was also expensive and ineffective; only 108 out of 4,086 people tested (about 2.6 percent) turned up positive drug tests in the two years that the program was in action. The nationwide average is approximately 9.4 percent.

    Grant Smith, from the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to ending the war on drugs, called the move “shameful.”

    “They said it’s about helping states save money, but this would actually set up states to waste tremendous amounts of money,” Smith said in a letter addressed to lawmakers last week.

    The ACLU is also gearing up for a legal battle, writing in a statement that the legislation is “likely” an unconstitutional violation of government benefit recipients’ Fourth Amendment rights.

    Original Source

    Written by: Tess Owen, Mar 20, 2017, Testing the waters, Vice

Recent User Reviews

  1. TheBigBadWolf
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Mar 30, 2017
    The article shows clearly how the idea of saving (tax) money becomes perverted so that it becomes clear that the original idea was not saving for the public but the exclusion of a big minority of citizens from their civil rights.
    Now that public seems to have understood that the WarOnDrugUsers has been a complete fail from Anslinger's times onward, the ever present eternal backwards party of US ultra-right-wing/fascist politicians has tried a new way of stomping in on those who think different.
    Nice try. gotcha!
  2. aemetha
    "Great first article"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Mar 21, 2017
    Well done on the formatting, just a couple of minor changes required. Overall a good and interesting first article. Well done.


  1. aemetha
    Looks good, couple of things to do with it. Your snippet is a little too short, if you add "The White House says President Donald…" to what you already have, it will fit into the character limit. It needs to be 180-240 characters to display properly. The only other thing I can see is it could use some tags. "Law reform" would be a good tag to start with. Otherwise, really well done. Great first effort.
      TheBigBadWolf likes this.
    1. DroppedYourPocket
      Will do. Thank you.
    2. TheBigBadWolf
      well done for giving the newbie a pointer in the right direction!
      @DroppedYourPocket , welcome and thanks for the well chosen article. It's important to make readers see how their rights are cut for no reason at all, e.g. drug testing for a million to save 3500 *facepalm* :mad:
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