In October we told you about the governors and legislators proposing mandatory urine testing in order to qualify for food stamps or welfare.
A few weeks ago, we wrote about Rep. Jack Kingston from Georgia, who wants the unemployed to undergo mandatory drug testing to "qualify" for unemployment benefits.
The latest entrant into the drug testing wars is Michigan. From Huffington Post:
Officials in Michigan's Department of Human Services want to bring back drug testing of welfare recipients, a controversial practice that Michigan courts struck down more than a decade ago. The new policy would differ from the one enacted under Republican Gov. John Engler in 1999, which required a urine test to apply for benefits and would have subjected recipients to random drug screenings.
Michigan state Rep. Jeff Farrington (R-Utica) introduced a bill on Dec. 13 that would require applicants take a drug test to qualify for FIA benefits. Under the proposed bill, which is still up for discussion, recipients who passed a drug screening would have the cost of the test deducted from their first benefits payment.
Great. Not only do they want to demonize the poor, they want the poor to pay for that demonization. Apparently Rep. Farrington has not learned the lesson that Governor Rick Scott of Florida learned. From Mother Jones:
But with 96 percent of applicants passing the test with flying colors (and another 2 percent getting inconclusive results), the state is having to buy back a lot of clean pee: 11.5 gallons at $34,300 every month, assuming an average sample size of 1.5 ounces and and average test price of $35.
That's spending an awful lot of taxpayer money just to harass poor people. It's certainly not creating the big savings that Governor Scott promised his constituents.
I wrote in October:
On the one hand, we hear a lot of gnashing of teeth from DC about job creation, yet on the other, we have the ongoing blame being heaped upon those who aren’t able to find work and are living in poverty, as if being unemployed or poor were somehow voluntary.
It is deeply distressing to see this becoming a national trend.
cross-posted at: MainSt/workingamerica.org