NC Repubs: Drug Testing for Thee, Not for Me


Republicans in North Carolina have joined their colleagues in Florida in trying to push through a bill to drug test anyone who receives public benefits. Predictably, however, they balked at the idea that they themselves should be drug tested since they also receive taxpayer money.

Republicans in the North Carolina state Senate on Monday pushed through bill that would strip public benefits like food stamps and job training for people who fail a drug test.

In 35-15 vote largely along party lines, senators passed SB 594. A single Democrat voted for the bill, and no Republicans voted against it.

The bill requires those applying for benefits to pay for their own drug tests. Applicants who test negative would be eligible to have the costs of their tests reimbursed. The policy could cost the state more than $2.1 million.

At the same time, senators rejected an amendment offered by Democratic state Sen. Gladys Robinson that would have drug tested lawmakers, the governor and cabinet secretaries.

“We receive state funds, we represent the law, we institute policy,” Robinson told senators on Monday night. “So, it should not be above any of us to submit to drug screening.”

And of course, they would never vote for a bill requiring drug testing for executives of companies that get government contracts or tax breaks and subsidies. That would be wrong. Because this has nothing to do with protecting taxpayers, it has only to do with their desire to punish poor people and make them look like a bunch of lazy slackers.

Comments

  1. jamessweet says

    The policy could cost the state more than $2.1 million.

    I’m getting really tired of these Tax-and-Spend conservatives who want to throw money away on their idealistic crusades.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Florida’s experience strongly suggest North Carolinians should look – hard – at the ownership of testing facilities likely to receive a sudden bonanza of drug-testing business from this bill.

  3. Moggie says

    If they ever decide to require drug tests on Wall Street, the shit will really hit the fan.

  4. says

    Moggie, oh, please! It’s not necessary. Traders and investment bankers tend to be neither poor nor black.
    If this was a buddy cop movie, your captain would tell you “I’m getting calls from the mayor’s office. Close the investigation and leave them alone. They’re pillars of the community!”

  5. dan4 says

    “The bill requires those applying for benefits to pay for their own drug tests. Applicants who test negative would be eligible to have the costs of their tests reimbursed.”

    Really? This sounds ass-backwards to me, almost like a civil law equivalent of “you’re guilty until you prove to me you’re innocent.” IMHO, the state should pay for the drug test, and if the applicant tests positive, then s/he should reimburse the government.

  6. says

    I wonder just how many politicians would test positive if we gave them regular drug tests. My brother and I have semi-jokingly asserted that Republicans are on meth based on their impulsive rage, panic attacks, disjointed troll logic, and paranoia. I don’t know how meth fiends really act, but it seems plausible to me that they’re absolutely wired on something.

    Of course, the far more disturbing thought is that they don’t need drugs to act the way they do.

  7. samgardner says

    “Would be eligible for reimbursement”. — meaning that they would get reimbursed after 4-6 weeks at earliest ( during which the government would be collecting interest on their money), and only after filling out forms in triplicate and going through whatever other hoops the government decides will weed out a sufficient number of the eligible.

  8. marcus says

    I wonder what is going to happen to NC as all those people with a functioning brain begin to move to greener (more rational) pastures.

  9. =8)-DX says

    This is totally assinine. Sadly there are voices calling for things like this in my country (CZ) as well. Simply put any person supporting this kind of regulation must ask themselves: is it better to have drug addicts in poverty on the streets, stealing and murdering to get their next dose (as well as enhancing the damage done to their health by improper hygiene, food and parasites), or to have a comprehensive social safety net with rehabilitation programs, providing basic human necessities to those strugling to end their addiction?

    Things like clean-needle programs and outreach for voluntary rehabilitation actually work. You don’t get rid of all drug abuse, but leaving a door open for these people to get out as well as offering a helping hand can go a long way to mitigate the damage illegal drug use does to people.

  10. scienceavenger says

    “And of course, they would never vote for a bill requiring drug testing for executives of companies that get government contracts or tax breaks and subsidies.

    Apples and oranges. You’re playing right into the “clueless liberal” stereotype, the promoters of this legislation would have a field day with that. The motive behind such legislation is to curb irresponsible behavior, which is assumed to be the primary cause of the need for public assistence in the first place (these people dismiss the social sciences out of hand). There’s no such thing in the items listed.

    A much better analog would be the bank bailouts, welfare on a massive scale to those who needed the help due to their irresponsible behavior (which we’ve done basically nothing to fix BTW). But of course, we never consider it welfare if its given to rich people. As Bob Dylan said “steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.”

  11. says

    And there are six states that already have some version of that legislation languishing in legislative limbo or passed, signed and unimplemented because of pending court cases to determine their constitutionality. It looks to me like the “Black, Cadillac drivin’, baby poopin, welfare queen has added drug addiction to her list of crimes

    The ACLU has a nice piece on the issue, here:

    http://www.aclu.org/drug-law-reform/drug-testing-public-assistance-recipients-condition-eligibility

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