Drug testing bill deserves support

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rep. Ellen Brandom of Sikeston has introduced a bill in the Missouri Legislature that would require drug testing for some welfare recipients. The bill will be debated this week and, were I a betting man, I'd says odds are good that the measure will be approved.

If you pose the question of drug testing for welfare recipients to the general public, you'll find overwhelming support.

But as with everything in life, the devil's in the details. Granted, there are a number of issues that must first be resolved, but this measure is definitely a step in the right direction.

Brandom's bill would mandate drug screening if there is a "reasonable cause to believe" that the recipient is using drugs. That language will surely be a topic of debate. But the bottom line is obvious. Taxpayers allocate a enormous amount of resources through the welfare system in this country with little to no accountability on the part of the recipients.

Some Democrats argue that the drug-testing mandate should apply to anyone receiving any form of government funds. That is simply a smoke screen.

The drug-testing proposal was also offered last year in Missouri but ultimately failed. I strongly suspect the outcome will be different this year.

It takes courage to put forth a measure as controversial as this one and Rep. Brandom is clearly to be commended.

Few in our society begrudge providing assistance to those in need. All that is asked in return is that those on the receiving end make an attempt to improve their lives. Part of that process is some level of assurance that tax dollars are not being used to buy drugs.

This measure is fair. And it's also long overdue.

Rep. Brandom presented the argument with the best explanation possible.

She said, "Taxpayers do not have any sympathy at all for using tax money to subsidize others' drug use."

She's right and we all know it!

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