Indiana welfare drug testing bill withdrawn after lawmakers included
A bill proposed by one Indiana Republican has been withdrawn after its provision to drug test recipients of government largesse was widened to include lawmakers themselves, according to Arthur Delany at The Huffington Post.
Republican lawmaker Judd McMillan (R-Brookville) removed the bill from consideration by the Indiana General Assembly after Democratic colleagues amended it, but, the Republican says, he intends to reintroduce it on Monday once he has reworked it.
“I’ve only withdrawn it temporarily,” said McMillan, stating that he crafted the bill to elude questions of constitutionality with regards to illegal search and seizure, issues that caused a Florida judge to overturn a similar rule earlier this year.
McMillan’s bill includes a “tiered” testing system, by which some people can opt out of random testing, but will be tested if the government deems that there is “reasonable suspicion” that they may be engaged in drug use. Testing could be triggered by an applicant’s demeanor, arrest or conviction for a crime, or failure to make appointments mandated by the welfare office.
No compelling evidence exists that individuals on public assistance or more likely to engage in drug use or other illegal behaviors and yet Republicans in more than 30 states have attempted to institute a drug testing requirement to receive benefits. Some laws have even attempted to make it impossible to collect food stamps or unemployment benefits without being tested.
The amendment to the Indiana bill was proposed by Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend), who said, “After it passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill. If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy. If we’re going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money.”
McMillan for his part claims he would be perfectly willing to take a drug test. “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to,” he said.
The Indiana General Assembly will reconvene on Monday morning.
(image via Flickr Commons)