The Huffington Post has an article about the recent Kentucky proposal to do random drug testing. Drug testing on those participating in the SNAP program.
If you receive Welfare, Medicaid or food assistance (SNAP), you would be subject to random testing. This would indicate whether you were using the system to fund your habit on the backs of the taxpayer. The same taxpayer that funds the very police department burdened with your illegal activities.
This bi-partisan bill was introduced by Kentucky state Rep. Lonnie Napier who told HuffPost would "get people off drugs" and save money for the state. I'll tell you this conversation has happened everywhere people gather to discuss our municipal budgets.
To hear about someone actually bringing this to the floor somewhere intrigues me. I'm going to be paying close attention to this one.
Napier quoted in HuffPost: "I believe there is a place for public assistance for those that really need it, but I don't think there should be public assistance for those using it to buy drugs. It's widely known here and all over the country that they'll take the food-stamp card and buy good groceries with it, and then swap them for illegal drugs. My deal would only be random testing, and this would put the fear in people to keep them drug-clean because they would lose their public assistance if they show up with illegal drugs in their system."
I see the bill would not alert authorities for prosecution when the results turned up positive for drugs, but the intent is to get people off drugs with the threat of losing assistance. Works for me.
It was also pointed out that Michigan did testing in three welfare offices. Out of 258 clients, 21 tested positive. Mostly pot.
They thought the effort wasn't worth the cost, but I'd say the testing caused the clients to stop doing drugs once the law went into effect. Think of the savings in law enforcement.
Napier also quoted: "I think it's time somebody stepped up to the plate and tried to help people get off of drugs. If you're continuing to let people have free handouts and they're using it for illegal drugs, then I guess we're helping them do it."
Considering the recent sting in Kingston and the millions in SNAP funds that Ulster County will never get back, this might be a worthy discussion locally.
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