07 Jun States Drug Testing for Welfare
The political tide ebbs and flows red and blue, and presently, there are a handful of states where Republicans have taken wide majorities in statehouses. Kansas is a state where the GOP has had a long history of power, and recently made some major changes to welfare laws.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law legislation that requires some welfare recipients to prove they are not on drugs before they can receive aid. Kansas’ Department of Children and Families will conduct a urinalysis on welfare participants suspected of taking illicit drugs.
The department will look for signs of drug use, which could include the person’s behavior, run-ins with law enforcement or missed appointments with the department. Proponents of the legislation say it provides long-needed accountability measures for people who might be taking advantage of the system. Opponents say its unfairly targeting minorities and putting another expense into the system.
Kansas isn’t the only state making these changes. Missouri is sending legislation from the House of Representatives to the Senate that would make similar requirements.
Drug addiction affects every facet of society. While the pain killer epidemic is striking the middle class hard, illicit drugs are more widely used by the country’s poor, a large percent of which is on public assistance.
While the constitutionality of the law is likely to be tested, some believe that it could help curb addiction. Others, however, believe it’s another roadblock for a group that’s already struggling with healthcare, education and in many cases, proper nutrition.
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