Joint Finance Committee approves requiring drug screenings for recipients of public aid programs

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MADISON (AP) — The Legislature’s budget committee has approved requiring drug screenings for recipients of public aid programs like food stamps and unemployment benefits.

Governor Scott Walker had proposed the testing. The Assembly last week passed a pair of bills to do that, and the Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday approved it 11-4 with some revisions.

Under the proposal, applicants for state job training programs such as Wisconsin Works, people on the FoodShare program and most of those seeking unemployment benefits would have to take a questionnaire that may subject them to drug tests later.

Those who fail the drug tests would get taxpayer-funded treatment.

Democratic critics say the state won’t get a federal waiver for the testing, it’s unconstitutional and expensive. The exact cost of administering the tests is not known.

17 comments

    • Karon

      TR-i wish it were a national law. Then the states would not have to go to the feds for these waivers, etc. Why would ANYONE think it’s all ok and fine to keep those who refuse to work but would rather use on the hardworking people’s dime? I just don’t get it.

    • Karon

      J-it is a crime to use drugs. It is a crime to be legally drunk. It is a crime (in my eyes) to steal tax payer $ to support a user when they have the $ for the addiction. So really, this is $ being spent on crime.

    • Karon

      J-they are not poor. It was their choice to spend their $ on drugs or alcohol instead of a roof over their heads. clothes on their backs or food in their bellies. The christian thing to do is offer help.

      • letaisha

        What about the kids? People on drugs are sick and it’s not fair to the children to have to suffer due to parents illness. Shame on the government! I wish my fellow tax payers would stop pretending that this is the problem in Wisconsin. It’s actually quite disgusting.

      • Karon

        Letisha…it may work like making just the childless ones test. I haven’t read the actual proposal, but again it’s the parents choice to use or feed. The kids shouldn’t be living with addicts.

  • yoots

    Do you know how easy it is to clear a urine test? All it takes is a gallon of water and about 6 hours. Another well-meaning, but useless law.

    • Karon

      Yoots-Might be hair test which tests for chronic users. I totally approve of testing. Had to take one for my job, as do most. It’s usually right in the employment ad-drug testing or drug screening is part of it. PLUS if there’s $ for weed, scrips that are not prescribed to the user, meth, etc they do NOT need taxpayer $. I think it would help the drug addicts and alcoholics get their lives back. I’d rather pay tax $ to clean someone up & make them SELF sufficient then support them and their babies for the rest of my working days.

      • letaisha

        Karon- if this gets federally approved, the cost to administer these tests will be much greater than the $5 coming out of your check. And if you honestly feel that’s better than sick people being able to eat and live then you must be working for satan!

      • Karon

        Letaisha-did you read my entire post or just get on it? lol i said i would happily pay my tax $ to HELP the addicts get better. Please read before you spout off at me. Thanks and have a great day.

  • wtf

    If I have to pass a random drug test for employment then a recipeint of government programs should have too also!!!!

  • D

    “Those who fail the drug tests would get taxpayer-funded treatment.” it says nothing about getting kicked off the programs or anything else. and i’m sure they wont attend treatments either…

  • St. Lepus

    Considering the impact that a petty drug user has on society in the big picture, this seems like yet another boondoggle. When petty drug users get caught,and they do, this only serves to generate income as well as create jobs for all of the people employed by the Government. Every clerk, policeman, warden, bailiff, County Jail Food Service employee…..on and on and on, draws a paycheck.

    There is no reform system, only warehousing of “criminals”. Even that warehousing generates Big Money contracts. Wouldn’t it make more sense to drug test those in positions of power? The ones that make decisions that affect all of our lives. Mark Twain once said Congress may be America’s only ‘distinct criminal class.

    With little or no effort, if so inclined, one can use this great tool you are reading this comment on and research just a little bit to find that many, more than you would believe, in positions of power are arrested for drunk driving, spousal abuse, drugs, fraud…..even when caught they seldom have any real consequences to their criminal acts & actions.

    Granted, it is easier to sit there in a state of willful ignorance though and spout off misinformation as well as generalized hatred aimed in the wrong direction…..That’s the American Way!

  • Kelli Hanson

    That is ridiculous when States have legalized pot for medical treatment. We live in a free country,& if this helps to treat medical issues, than legalized it in a controlled situation. The so called Government is just pissed because they are not making any money!!

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