It’s been a sound byte of the Right since Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House: if we could only kick all the druggies off of government assistance (e.g, Welfare and Unemployment) we could save bundles of money. The Chron is reporting that about a hearing on a bill in the lege to do exactly that.
There are a pair of bills that would require drug testing the applicants to TANF (Welfare) as well as unemployment insurance. The Welfare bill, SB 11, was introduced by Senator Jane Nelson, a Metroplex Republican. The Unemployment bill, SB 21, was introduced by Senator Tommy Williams, a Republican from The Woodlands. Recently, the hearing was held on the unemployment bill. Wendy Davis, in her continuing awesomeness, shored up the opposition to the bill.
Davis’ main concern was that it would be an unneeded, added stigma to those needing government assistance. Davis has special insight into this concern, once being dependent upon welfare and unemployment herself. Williams, meanwhile is a wealthy banker who doesn’t quite have much first-hand experience into being poor or requiring government assistance. But anyways….
For what it’s worth, I am opposed to both of these bills, but not for the reasons some on the left are for. I personally have no problems with kicking people off of welfare or unemployment if they are druggies who are squandering the money. Receiving free cash from the government is not an alienable right. But, like a Voter ID Act, these acts are a solution to a problem that really doesn’t exist. We should learn from the horrible experience the State of Florida had in attempting a very similar law.
In the Florida example, roughly 1 in 50 welfare recipients failed the program. The cost of all those drug tests, however, added up. The end result was that the State lost money. A similar conclusion will most likely appear in Texas if this law goes through. Also, the bills are evidently a violation of the 4th amendment, though I may not completely agree with that. Essentially, whether you think these bills are right or wrong, it is a waste of money to go through with them, and I hope the Legislature may come together to stop a waste of money.