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Public Benefits Drug Test Bill Advances in Kansas

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #774)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The Kansas Senate Thursday approved a bill requiring welfare and unemployment benefits recipients to undergo drug tests if there is "reasonable suspicion" they are using drugs. But the definition of "reasonable suspicion" includes having worked in a field where drug testing is prevalent.

Democratic legislators successfully amended the bill so that its provisions also include lawmakers.

The Republican-backed bill, Senate Bill 149, passed on a 31-8 vote, largely along party lines.

According to the bill, reasonable suspicion may be arrived at, but is not limited to, "an applicant's or recipient's demeanor, missed appointments and arrest or other police records, previous employment or application for employment in an occupation or industry that regularly conducts drug screening, termination from previous employment due to unlawful use of a controlled substance or controlled substance analog or prior drug screening records of the applicant or recipient indicating unlawful use."

People who fail the drug test would lose benefits until they complete drug treatment and job training programs.

Republicans argued that the bill would help people with addictions kick their habit and prevent state tax dollars from being spent on drugs. But according to a legislative fiscal analysis, the bill would create "a net fiscal effect of increased expenditures of $1,095,468 in FY 2014" and create no net benefit to state coffers in years after that.

The bill now goes before the state House.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


kickback (not verified)

Since the bill includes Legislators , each time one of `em passes the test , they should be given a " Plastic Cup Award " . You know , to show their true spirit . Too bad stupidity doesn`t show up in a drug test .

Tue, 03/05/2013 - 12:37am Permalink
Mark Mitcham (not verified)

Says The Man: "You stupid hippies just can't get it straight!  Marijuana is illegal, and it's illegal to make it legal!  It's illegal because it's bad, and it's bad because it's illegal!  If we've ever drug tested  you, it means we had a reason to do so; now that we have a reason to drug test you, we're never going to quit drug testing you!  What's so hard to understand about that?"

Tue, 03/05/2013 - 11:53am Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

Republican house,correct?I can remember some comments alluding to Obama's hypocrisy and how Republicans were for states rights and would be better for us???I guess we won't be hearing that anymore.These trumped up excuses to try to make basic assistance a series of hoops to jump through are insane.The tests are flawed,expensive and an intrusion into one's private life.I thought I'd never see the day that one was actually passed.I was wrong.The ACLU must have it's hands full.We are talking about food and shelter here.Doesn't an addict deserve food and shelter like everyone else?What about their children?Children removed from addicted parents do worse than those left with their parents.Doesn't say much for the child welfare system even as it is now.Tightening things up will hurt the children far more than the addict they seem to be trying to starve out.

Sat, 03/09/2013 - 7:04pm Permalink
Bearz (not verified)

if they're so into saving money I wonder if they've done a cost analysis of administering these drug tests...

To me this is more about denying any kind of social assistance claims then about anything else, and these legislative clowns will use what ever tools they can in order to deny the helpless and medically indigent any help at all...

hobo with a shotgun was a movie, but will be a reality soon enough with the victims of these new vigilantes being the selfish rednecks without souls who embrace and pass such absurd laws to begin with.

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 1:26pm Permalink

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