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Drug testing bill for welfare recipients advances in House

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  • Drug testing bill for welfare recipients advances in House

    If this passes it'll be intresting to see...Teaparty policies are going through left and right here in Florida...Let's see how they work...

    Drug testing bill for welfare recipients advances in House


    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/0...#ixzz1IO52Rkpq


    The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would deny benefits to recipients of temporary financial assistance for at least one year if they fail a drug test.

    By MICHAEL PELTIER
    THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

    TALLAHASSEE -- Welfare recipients would need to pass drug tests – and pay for them -- before receiving financial assistance under bills traveling in both chambers that backers say will send a tough but needed message to substance abusers who use taxpayer money to feed their addiction instead of their families.

    On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee on a 13-5 vote approved a measure (HB 353) that would deny benefits to recipients of temporary financial assistance for at least one year if they fail a drug test. A second failed test would kick them off the assistance rolls for three years. Food stamp eligibility would not be affected.

    A Senate bill (SB 556) is awaiting action in that chamber’s budget committee.

    “Until we bring accountability into the process, there is no way we will ever get a handle on the huge impact substance abuse has on our communities,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. “We are becoming enablers in this sick relationship.”

    Backers said taxpayers should not be paying financial assistance to recipients who are abusing drugs and may use the funds instead to fuel a drug or alcohol addiction. They said further that denying benefits to recipients with substance abuse problems may provide the incentive for them to seek help.

    “This is about trying to get to the real core problem in the family,” Baxley said. “Until you do, you will never solve the problem.”

    About 113,000 Floridians are receiving temporary cash payments under a program administered by the Department of Children and Families that is expected to cost $211million for the current fiscal year. The agency currently does not screen recipients for drugs. Federal law allows states to deny benefits to recipients convicted of a felony drug offense, a provision Florida has chosen not to adopt. A pilot program conducted between 1999 and 2001 was discontinued after researchers determined it was not cost effective.

    Critics say subjecting all recipients to drug tests penalizes their families, especially their children, regardless of whether the parents are using.

    In two-parent households, both parents would have to take separate tests, which could run from $10 to $70 a piece.

    At the very least, skeptics say the state should at least pick up the tab.

    “If the state is going to go down the road from a presumption of innocence to suspicious-less presumption of guilt for only the poorest among us it should at least bear the cost,” said Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. “Members, we are embarking on dangerously thin ice.”

    State officials who would be charged with overseeing the program said many of the details still need to be worked out. Jennifer Lange, program director overseeing DCF’s welfare programs said, in all likelihood, the state would put out a bid and contract with a private company or companies to administer the test and process the results. Details as to what drugs would be tested for and other protocols would be developed by rule.

    Mark Fontaine, a lobbyist for the Florida Drug and Alcohol Abuse Association, said nothing in the bill addresses recipients who have tested positive for drugs but have entered or completed substance abuse programs and are now clean. “If that is your goal, if someone takes the initiative to get treatment then they should be able to come back,” Fontaine said.

    But even if recipients could opt back in after undergoing treatment, there are often waiting periods for programs, and the lack of slots would prolong the lapse in needed benefits, he said. He noted that the Senate budget has so far eliminated any state funding for drug treatment.

    “They will have no access to treatment because there will be no treatment,” he said.



    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/0...#ixzz1IO4aWUsT
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  • #2
    Will it make any different? If people are getting dropped off the rolls of the various entitlement programs, the progressives will just pass a different one that gives the money to them while they are "in rehab" or something and allows them to get it while they are waiting to get into a program.

    Or the progressives will take it to court and get it ruled unconstitutional or something. You can't hurt their voting base without a fight.
    Last edited by FNA209; 04-01-2011, 12:47 PM.
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    • #3
      It also needs drop tests for alcohol. its amazing the number on welfare that always have a beer in thier hand

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      • #4
        This is good stuff. I hope it spreads. Long overdue.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by 1042 Trooper View Post
          This is good stuff. I hope it spreads. Long overdue.
          +1000
          Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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          • #6
            As long as there are no exceptions based on age, race, sex, how many dependents they have, etc I don't really care.
            "The deepest human defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become."

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            • #7
              Definitely agree with this as long as people who go to treatment and get cleaned up(verifiably) are able to get back on the program.
              Yeah. That would go poorly. Like, on the Scale of Fail, somewhere between "Titanic" and "Chernobyl."
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              • #8
                It's about time.

                Though I am sure it will just be ripe with fraud like the welfare system they are trying to exploit.

                Oh well, couldn't hurt I guess.
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