Missouri lawmaker disputes cost of drug testing bill

Friday, January 28, 2011 | 7:10 a.m. CST; updated 10:09 a.m. CST, Friday, January 28, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — The sponsor of a Missouri House bill to require drug tests for some welfare recipients is disputing how much the proposal would cost to implement.

The state would administer the tests to people suspected of illegally using controlled substances.

Analysts on the legislative staff estimate the program would cost the state about $2 million a year. But the sponsor, Republican Ellen Brandom of Sikeston, said Thursday she thinks it would only cost about $500,000.

House members have given the bill first-round approval. It needs another vote before it goes to the Senate.

Republican House Speaker Steven Tilley, of Perryville, says Republicans might challenge the cost estimate.

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Marilyn Thomas January 28, 2011 | 6:19 p.m.

Be careful what you ask for - to uncover a potential substance abuse problem and not offer treatment/rehabilitation as an option may border on negligence and additional liability, both costly items the state can ill afford.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 28, 2011 | 6:43 p.m.

Marilyn, the state also can ill afford a program for every character flaw.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 28, 2011 | 7:17 p.m.

I don't know, Marilyn... I don't think the state is asking too much to require people that are receiving our tax dollars for doing little to nothing; to not use illegal narcotics...

I mean, we don't want to ENCOURAGE illegal drug use by giving away the citizen's tax dollars to people who are using illegal narcotics, now do we?

I think it may be negligent of the state to NOT require drug testing of those that are receiving public assistance. Negligent in the way of contributing to crime, and perpetuating the problems we are having with people that would rather collect welfare than work.....

Ricky Gurley.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle January 29, 2011 | 12:23 p.m.

Ironically, this might lead to more drug dealing, as users kicked off welfare rolls turn to that for income. Drug dealing is just about the only entrepreneurial endeavor that can be undertaken without any formal training or education, work history or other qualifications, or need to comply with up front licensing or regulations. I bet there are even wholesale suppliers willing to help finance new salespeople with product loans.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire January 29, 2011 | 12:39 p.m.

Many people who work in occupations where they regularly take drug tests quit smoking pot. And then they start using cocaine and methamphetamine because they know that it will not stay in their system for any length of time.

Great idea.

(Report Comment)
Chip Leaver January 29, 2011 | 4:03 p.m.

I'm personally against making any more draconian laws concerning the use of pot.
I hold a job that if anything at all happens to me or my personal vehicle, during work hours, even if I am not in it, I have to submit to a drug test, which I highly resent, but I don't wish to spread the cancer of drug testing around to others.
If I were to take a hit of a joint at a social gathering, on my off time, and some two weeks later, while eating lunch in a restaurant, were to have my car hit in a parking lot, well there goes my job. That just doesn't make any sense.
So in a way, my nastier nature tells me, yeah, these welfare people who aren't holding a job should have to share in my pain, but my better side, objects strongly to discriminating against the poor, because truthfully, where does it end?
The injustice being done to me and all others who have to submit to drug testing, even with no background of ever using drugs, just because we hold a job is pretty unfair, but two wrongs sure doesn't make a right and me spreading the unfairness doesn't do anything to make the wrong being done to me any better.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush January 29, 2011 | 5:14 p.m.

Bad bill.
If they were to pass a bill that requires anyone receiving money from the state to be tested, I would whole heartedly support it. We can start with members General Assembly and their families. After all, what good for the know the rest.
Otherwise, they're just hunting for a victim while constructing a gallows - punishment for punishment's sake.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield January 31, 2011 | 4:35 p.m.

"So in a way, my nastier nature tells me, yeah, these welfare people who aren't holding a job should have to share in my pain, but my better side, objects strongly to discriminating against the poor, because truthfully, where does it end?"

It's not discrimination. If you can afford drugs, then clearly you're not so hard up for money that you should expect the government to seize it from other people and give it to you.

(Report Comment)

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