Welfare Recipients Could Be Tested for Drugs

Welfare Recipients Could Be Tested for Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on September 18, 2004 at 13:10:13 PT
By Amy F. Bailey, Associated Press
Source: Detroit Free Press 
Lansing -- Welfare recipients could be required to take a drug test to continue receiving state aid under legislation on its way to the state House.The bill approved Wednesday by the House Family and Children Services Committee would allow the Family Independence Agency to require a drug test if one of its employees has probable cause to suspect a recipient of substance abuse.
It's the first time the Legislature has taken up the issue since the American Civil Liberties Union and the state reached a settlement to end their four-year dispute over the state's 1999 pilot program to drug test all welfare recipients. The agreement followed an April 2003 ruling by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that said the drug-testing program violated the Fourth Amendment.The agreement only would allow people suspected by a professional of having a drug problem to be subject to a test. The determination would be made, in part, by drug-use surveys filled out by welfare recipients.ACLU lobbyist Shelli Weisberg said the proposed legislation doesn't reflect the state's deal with the group because it would allow any FIA employee to require a drug test."FIA employees do not have training to know probable cause," Weisberg told the committee.But a number of Republicans on the committee argued that it's an important way to get low-income adults on the path to self-sufficiency.Ron Hicks, the FIA's legislative liaison, also said the agency opposes the bill because it doesn't match the state's agreement with the ACLU. That deal only calls for a limited pilot project but the legislation would require statewide implementation, he said.Hicks said the state hasn't tested any welfare recipients for drugs since 1999 and doesn't plan to do it.Rep. David Farhat, a Republican from Fruitport who introduced the bill, said he would be willing to make changes to the bill to better reflect the agreement."My goal is to push something forward that is going to work," he said.The FIA also is worried about how to pay for testing and treatment, Hicks said. Nearly $5.9 million had been set aside in 1999 to implement a pilot program in several areas of the state, FIA spokeswoman Karen Smith said.The state tested 533 people during five weeks in 1999 before the civil liberties union filed its lawsuit and a court injunction halted the program, Hicks said. Of those tested, the state got back results for 435 and 45 of those were positive, he said.Without the lawsuit, drug testing for welfare recipients was set to go statewide by April 1, 2003.The five Republican committee members who voted for the bill were: Chairman Lauren Hager of Port Huron, John Stahl of North Branch, Doug Hart of Rockford, Fulton Sheen of Plainwell and Joanne Vorhees of Wyoming. Republican Rep. Barbara Vander Veen of Allendale was absent and didn't vote.Two of the committee's three Democrats voted against it: Artina Tinsley Hardman of Detroit and Brenda Clack of Flint. Rep. Jennifer Elkins, D-Lake, was at the meeting but abstained.Note: ACLU wonders if proposal is what it agreed to with state.Complete Title: Welfare Recipients Could Be Tested for Illegal DrugsSource: Detroit Free Press (MI)Author: Amy F. Bailey, Associated PressPublished: September 16, 2004Copyright: 2004 Detroit Free PressContact: letters freepress.comWebsite: Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #1 posted by global_warming on September 18, 2004 at 13:55:12 PT
Fat lazy people on "welfare"
Somehow marijuana has been linked up with the swelling "welfare population.Welfare and the system that enables such social programs, is much like the war on drugs.Both recievers gain employment from continued social behaviors.The social worker would not have a job if every person was gainfully employed, and the drug warrior would not have a job if everybody just said "no".There have been many articles written in the past that show how the welfare system is encouraged to continue, to preserve the jobs of the so many social workers, and I would bet, that the DEA is probably behind the perpetuation of the drug war also.The picture that most people have is of a fat and lazy black women, plopping out illegitimate babies, that the "white" working people have to shoulder with higher taxes.If the rich white people insist on keeping the highest profits, than there will continue to be those that that are denied the profits of our civilizations efforts.Our little blue planet has only so much resource, and to deny the benefit of honest labor is the crime.Grow a cannabis plant in your yard, it brings "good luck", the very presence of the plant reminds all the other plants, that there is still hope that the monkeys that have been prohibiting just about everything will soon blow each other up and the world will be in peace again, once the last monkey is dead.-gw
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