North Dakota Welfare Drug Testing Bill Defeated

A bill that would have required welfare recipients to undergo drug testing died Friday in the North Dakota House. It was defeated soundly on a 72-19 vote.

North Dakota becomes the second state to kill welfare drug test bills this year. A similar bill in Virginia was defeated earlier this month.

The North Dakota bill, House Bill 1385, originally would have required all welfare applicants to undergo mandatory, suspicionless drug testing at their own expense as part of the application process. Those who failed the drug test would have lost benefits for one year, or six months if they completed drug treatment and passed a drug test. The bill was amended in committee to require drug tests of applicants only upon "reasonable suspicion."

Mandatory suspicionless drug test bills have become law in Florida and Georgia, but have been blocked or put on hold by legal challenges. Federal courts have repeatedly held that a drug test constitutes a search under the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and a search requires either a warrant or probable cause. Some states have sought to address that legal problem by calling for an initial assessment to see if there was evidence that would support a drug test, as North Dakota legislators did in committee.

But that was not enough to keep the bill alive. It was opposed by state social services officials, who said it was probably unconstitutional and unfairly targeted the poor. Legislators also balked at the potential costs, which a legislative fiscal analysis put at $595,000 in program costs for the first two years, as well as $125,000 in anticipated legal costs.

The state only has 1,800 participants in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, and 45% of those are children.

Bismarck, ND
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

I'll never understand

I'll never understand how in a country that values freedom and privacy as much as America does, how society could have so embraced the most invasive privacy breach that drug testing is.

Mainly because as a hard

Mainly because as a hard working citizen that is required to be tested for drug use before I get a job and in turn recieve money for my job, then why should an individual, who receives money from a state for literally doing nothing not be under the same scrutinisation that I am. The way the system is set up now, I see people come into a store and buy junk food, energy drinks, and sodas and then pay or it with their clearly labeled EBT card (which is tax payer funded money) only to then buy cigarettes and lotto tickets with the CASH they have. Most of these people are so engrossed in the "hood" culture that this practice and drug use are daily occasions. Even if these laws only prevented 30% of these people from abiding the system, it would be a start.

The reason employers can test

The reason employers can test for drugs is because you are going to make them money, so they can afford to spend money to make sure they are getting someone who isn't a drug addict.

Testing for welfare recipients creates a tax payer burden that is greater than the amount it saves by not giving welfare to drug addicts.

Not only that, EBT is

Not only that, EBT is expressly an EMERGENCY benefit for people (and their children) who are in positions where they literally cannot afford to eat if they don't get the benefit.  We live in a society that has decided, for the benefit of the entire society and its civilization, that people will not literally starve if they don't have the money to afford food.    

The right has been extraordinarily effective at painting all welfare recipents and ungrateful, advantage-taking freeloaders, but the simple fact is, the majority of people on food stamps are the working poor.

Not only that, EBT is

Not only that, EBT is expressly an EMERGENCY benefit for people (and their children) who are in positions where they literally cannot afford to eat if they don't get the benefit.  We live in a society that has decided, for the benefit of the entire society and its civilization, that people will not literally starve if they don't have the money to afford food.    

The right has been extraordinarily effective at painting all welfare recipents and ungrateful, advantage-taking freeloaders, but the simple fact is, the majority of people on food stamps are the working poor.

Not only that, EBT is

Not only that, EBT is expressly an EMERGENCY benefit for people (and their children) who are in positions where they literally cannot afford to eat if they don't get the benefit.  We live in a society that has decided, for the benefit of the entire society and its civilization, that people will not literally starve if they don't have the money to afford food.    

The right has been extraordinarily effective at painting all welfare recipents and ungrateful, advantage-taking freeloaders, but the simple fact is, the majority of people on food stamps are the working poor.

Wow

You obviously have never been a cashier and watched the EBT abuse.

Just today I have a person buy 30 dollars worth of medicine with their EBT FOODSTAMP and then return the medicine immediately, get cash back, and then buy cigarettes and beer with the money.   It is a broken system.  I'd rather see them starve then take my money.

Worthless humans.

"I'd rather see them starve

"I'd rather see them starve then take my money."

Brilliant mindset. Some percentage of people abuse the system so let's starve working poor mothers & their children.

Maybe they shouldn't be

Maybe they shouldn't be having kids if they're that poor. That being said, once you start taking from the government aka YOU and ME, WE then become your bosses in the job called life. If you're deciding to not do anything and get assistance for literally nothing, you don't have to pay it back, there's no interest accrued, nothing, then we get to have a say about under what conditions you get your (aka our) money. It's like if your parents say they'll give you your allowance but only after you do the dishes and mow the lawn. People who voted against this bill want to have the mindset of "oh we can assume they did those things, so lets give it to them" - hence the reasonable suspicion part of the bill. People take drug tests before they go to ACTUAL jobs where they do ACTUAL work and collect ACTUAL paychecks, which then go to fund welfare. Do some people need welfare? Absolutely. Should there be restrictions and limits and checkpoints? Again, absolutely. If the media and the President can scream about how there need to be further restrictions on gun ownership (btw, Obama is from Chicago, guns are illegal, 2nd highest gun crime rate in the world) then we as essentially the employers of these people, shoudl have a say under what conditions we "pay" them.

Maybe they shouldn't be

Maybe they shouldn't be having kids if they're that poor. That being said, once you start taking from the government aka YOU and ME, WE then become your bosses in the job called life. If you're deciding to not do anything and get assistance for literally nothing, you don't have to pay it back, there's no interest accrued, nothing, then we get to have a say about under what conditions you get your (aka our) money. It's like if your parents say they'll give you your allowance but only after you do the dishes and mow the lawn. People who voted against this bill want to have the mindset of "oh we can assume they did those things, so lets give it to them" - hence the reasonable suspicion part of the bill. People take drug tests before they go to ACTUAL jobs where they do ACTUAL work and collect ACTUAL paychecks, which then go to fund welfare. Do some people need welfare? Absolutely. Should there be restrictions and limits and checkpoints? Again, absolutely. If the media and the President can scream about how there need to be further restrictions on gun ownership (btw, Obama is from Chicago, guns are illegal, 2nd highest gun crime rate in the world) then we as essentially the employers of these people, shoudl have a say under what conditions we "pay" them.

I love that. You work at a

I love that. You work at a grocery store. Mind if I ask how much you make? Not enough to survive on alone without the financial help from someone else or the government... Please.

You have an inaccurate idea

You have an inaccurate idea of who actually receives the most assistance. 

Total Bull

Your reasoning is totally flawed.. Infringing upon ones right to privacy does nothing to stop the abuse of aid. Giving up your rights is never the solution to a problem unless you are the Government. The problem you describe is individuals abusing the help they are given, and greedy business owners helping and allowing them to do so. There are laws against these behaviours already and enforcement would be the solution..

or, turning that around . . .

It is difficult to understand how, a country that embraces hugely invasive police state activities, CLAIMS to value freedom and privacy. One could go on and on. If "Handsome is as Handsome does", the monster called Amerika is the enemy of  freedom.

Of course, there is the matter of imperial dominion, endless war, torture . . . , but that is usually directed at the "others". The "Drug War" is interesting in that it is the action of Amerika against "its own people", as well as the "others".

Drug Testing

How about we start drug testing the CIA and the Israeli Mossad ? The Saudi King ? Let`s dig down deep into that cookie jar why don`t we ? How dare the Taliban cut back on heroin production .  What explosives in WTC # 7 ? The Twin Towers on 9/11 were not hit by drones and explosives . You didn`t see that . Give me a 5 gallon bucket and I`ll give you something to play with . North Dakota has yet to be infiltrated by southern republican rednecks I see . At least common sense prevails somewhere . Funny how one thing leads to another .

The far right want drug tests

The far right want drug tests for welfare and jobs, but not to buy firearms.

Really?

Oh but I have to do a drug test for my jon and pay into welfare? How does that make any sense at all? Then don't drug test me if I pay for you to sit on your lazy ass. Not saying every person on welfare does drugs but it would eliminate a lot of people using the system and having 15 kids as well. And you wonder why out country is in the hole. I moved across the country, got an apartment, got a job, and still paid my bills. People are just lazy. And I do not have a college education...

It will cost you more to test

It will cost you more to test them than to pay the people who are using drugs, since most welfare users are not on drugs but will be tested anyway.

I'd rather pay more

Even if I have to pay more to have welfare recipients tested I would on principle. Employers pay to have their employees tested. So yes, it does cost more. I recently saw woman on an iphone having her "food stamp bought" groceries put into late model SUV with expensive wheels and stereo. I have to get tested to pay for their welfare, therefore they should get tested to receive it.

NOT NECCESSARILY

It wouldn't necessarily cost you more for them to be tested if the tests had to be paid for by the recipients themselves and was only refunded to those who passed. You can buy an at home drug test for numerous things at any drug store for $20. If it costs the regular citizen $20 to buy a drug test from a marked up drug store, how much do you think it would actually cost the government to use them? There's no need for anyone to turn a profit on this so the drug tests should cost to the citizen applying for welfare, the same as it cost the welfare office to get them. I think it's hard for anyone to say most people on welfare either are or aren't on drugs. I also think that those statistics change depending on where you live and the type of neighborhoods they are. I myself am a recovering addict and have myself witnessed more people on drugs abusing the welfare system then I have people using it properly. I am currently a tax payer in a decent bracket and I had to take a drug test at the last few jobs that I've applied for and gotten. I do feel that applying for welfare should be a lot like applying for a job. You shouldn't be going on welfare to live off the government, it should be used to help you get back on your feet and help you to better support yourself. They have numerous programs that help you find a job, provide work clothes, workshops and more. I had to prove myself at my job and continue to do so to keep it. I had to go on medical assistance and was on cash assistance for a period of time when I first had my son. I would have gladly taken a drug test when applying for those things because it was truly something I needed and would've been willing to do whatever I had to do to get it. 

there is no comparison

there is no comparison between drug testing by the government for receiving public assistance and being drug tested by a public or private entity as a term if employment. you can choose to seek out employment where they don't drug test if that's what you want, recipients of public assistance cannot seek that assistance elsewhere. also, Florida did implement this policy and paid significantly more to do the drug testing than what they saved by not paying people who tested positive. the percentage of people who tested positive was insignificant, despite public perception that drug abuse is rampant among welfare recipients and that welfare recipients are by and large people that are if a lower socioeconomic class, the truth is the majority are simply elderly citizens. lastly, this is an egregious violation of the rights if the people, all people, by our government. it's on par with the most strict gun control efforts or trying to limit free speech. it should not be allowed to occur. period. we give away our rights too willingly, and our government will keep taking them. I don't say this to be a dick or call you out specifically, it's just that we need to do better as citizens when it comes to policy like this than to make knee-jerk reactions based on emotion or prejudice.

I really like the last part

I really like the last part of your comment.  People don't seem to realize the insidious creep of government by these specious laws. I live in Massachusetts, everything is illegal in MA, thus most laws are ignored even by the good guys.

Really, Anonymous12345?

In Arizona, ONE PERSON tested positive for drugs out of 87,000 people. In Florida, 21 PEOPLE tested positive out of 51,000. Looks like people on welfare are as clean as the rest of us. Quelle surprise! And BTW, people I know who are down on their luck right now are busting their butts trying to get a job. Fact is, even a minimum wage job (just about all that's out there) pays better than UI. So please get your facts from somewhere other than the propaganda sewer that is FOX "News." And while you're at it, you might learn a lot by getting out and about. Those people I know who need gov't assistance right now no more want to be taking money from said gov't than I would.

 

Think?

You mention that you have to test at work. Did you ever bother to think that your rights are being violated? Did you ever bother to look into why your rights are being violated at work? Once again you have given up your rights in the workplace and because you have done so you are looking to penalize others? This is so wrong on so many levels. You are part of the problem why this country is going down. DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS TO EMPLOYERS.. I understand current law allows them to do testing. I almost have given up on PRE EMPLOYMENT testing but randoms in the workplace have to STOP!

Where in the constitution

Where in the constitution does it guarantee social programs? You do not have a right to welfare.

U.N. Universal Human Rights

U.N. Universal Human Rights

Where in the constitution?

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Right there?

The idea that we should have

The idea that we should have to pay for people who can't make a living for themselves in hysterical.

I've had my fair share of minimum wage jobs. I wouldn't take welfare even if I was eligible. I have way more respect for myself. I wouldn't have a kid if I wasn't financially ready to take care of it. I wouldn't take money from someone because society tells me it's ok because I'm disabled. I'd find a way to work and make a living.

I have family members who are 400+ lbs on disability, friends who are having kids just to get the money but don't take care of their children, and I know for a fact some of my friends are on welfare and smoke weed and drink all the time. I think it's one thing to take care of our elderly and disabled vets and individuals who had no control over their disability, but to take care of disabled people who put themselves into those positions by not taking care of themselves and to take care of ignorant little punks who have kids without thinking before they screw without condoms is absolute insanity at its best.

I think some people need to take a trip to D.C/Baltimore City/Detroit. Take a look and see how the system is being abused first hand in urban areas. Born and raised in Baltimore City till I was 25. I've lived 45 minutes from Detroit for the last 6 years. The system gets abused. Maybe not everywhere. But it gets abused pretty heavily in urban cities.

Good for you for having the

Good for you for having the dignity to not accept welfare and get a job, minimum wage as it may be. Our country has been pussified into, well, a welfare state, where everyone is nannied and if you can't do soemthing, don't worry about trying harder or doing it better, sit back and let someone else do it for you. I just got out of law school (paid my own way, so no silver spoon here) and there are grads who are 6 months out of school and on food stamps....but live in apartments where the PER PERSON rent is 1500 bucks or more. I would argue, move somewhere cheaper and no stamps needed. Ironically these are the hyper liberal people who say people like my parents don't pay their fair share, even though combined they make under 6 figures. However, they have no problem sucking on the gov't teat when it behooves them and essentially gloating about it. But back to the point, good for you for having some dignity, morals, however you want to classify it.

Drug testing is a major fraud played on the people

Drug testing came about the same time the right began their "drug war."  The tests and labs are owned by the insurance companies who first presented this idea of testing job applicants to reduce an employer's liability insurance.  In the meantime they built a multi-billion dollar cottage industry that only serves to harass pot smokers.  Heroin addicts and coke heads can easily pass drug tests by abstaining for a few days.  Teenagers pass them all the time using simple over the counter measures while the testing industry insists they are ahead of the curve.  Most alcoholics still work because the overwhelming majority of jobs don't test for it, and they present the biggest on-the-job drug problem to this day.  And, because so many prescribed medications trigger drug tests employers are now able to filter out applicants with potential health problems even though they claim the testing process doesn't work that way.   I personally know better.  Lab personnel violate HIPPA every single day by revealing investigative data to human resources personnel.

The good news is many smart employers that do not have positions of high risk stopped testing and went back to good old reliable interviewing and background checking skills to weed out potential issues.  And their profits are doing very well because they learned that testing did not reduce their insurance premiums while it increased their cost of doing business. 

Be realistic people.  You work hard at jobs to create a positive resume including solid personal recommenders only to be told "we like you but we don't trust you until you pee in this cup and give up your  many rights to privacy."  It's a scam that is whittling away your personal freedoms. 

"multi-billion dollar cottage industry...

...that only serves to harass pot smokers"

 

Let's go the final step: this preferential attack on cannabis users is the main issue: it protects the tobacco ($igarette) and alcohol industries.   Freer, fearlesser use of cannabis will inevitably help millions of individuals eliminate recourse to hot burning overdose $igarette technology now that so many in the cannabis sector are learning about
VAPORIZERS and how to vape with a one-hitter.  And everyone knows a 25-mg toke or two is more interesting than any size jug of beer or hooch.

Don't let "need for a job" cause a need to abstain from cannabis-- that herb which has the power to inspire the imagination and help you invent interesting ways to live and work brilliantly while spending LESS money so you can get by with minimal paying freelance jobs or INVENT something and build up a business marketing it (entrepreneur).

Drug screening for a new job???

How can anyone object to a drug test when the government is going to give you free whatever. Food, cash, insurance, medial care, bus passes, day care, and countless other things that are given to those in need. Many of these people are in this situation because they can't hold a job. Perhaps it's because they can't pass a drug test.

Some jobs now even require a tobacco test before they will allow you employment. If the private sector is doing this, then it must be considered constitutional and therefore allowed by human service agencies as well.

I see no reason as to how anyone could object to a simple test when you are asking the government for something. That being said. I don't know if you can realistically expect these people to pay for the tests out of pocket though. 

just look up facts before you

just look up facts before you talk crap. when I had kids I didn't plan on a divorce happening. and I can't afford to work and put my kids in daycare... without a little government assistance. don't categorize all welfare recipients into the same group. that would be considered stereo typing. and pS You can't buy medication on food stamps so if your grocery store is selling medicine on food stamps check with your boss it's not supposed to happen that way. there are people who are going to abuse every program no matter where you go. stop judging when you don't know what it's like.

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To get your CDL you have

To get your CDL you have background checks and drug tests. I don't hear anything about privacy there.

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