Wisconsin Governor Calls for Drug Testing for Those Receiving Public Assistance

Upset 2Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is calling for drug testing for people receiving unemployment benefits and welfare.

The proposal could run into legal obstacles, The Washington Post reports.

Walker has not released details of the plan. The state already requires applicants for public assistance who are convicted of drug felony charges to be tested for drugs. Maine, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Virginia have similar requirements.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a broader measure that requires testing benefits applicants either randomly or without suspicion that they have used drugs could be found unconstitutional.

Legislators in a number of states are continuing to pursue measures that would deny welfare benefits to people who use illegal drugs. In 2014, Alabama and Mississippi passed laws requiring drug tests for some public assistance applicants, the article notes. Alabama's law states applicants can be tested for drugs if there is reasonable suspicion. This could include convictions related to drugs within the past five years, or failing to pass a drug screening.

In Mississippi, applicants must fill out a questionnaire. If their answers raise suspicions of drug use, they must take a drug test.

A new law in Tennessee requires welfare applicants to declare any prior history of drug use. The law, which went into effect July 1, requires new applicants to fill out a questionnaire that asks whether they have recently taken drugs, and whether they lost employment or had court appearances scheduled in the past three months because of drug use. A person who answers yes must undergo drug testing.

In December 2013, a federal judge in Florida ruled the state's drug-test requirement was unconstitutional. Florida's law required welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug testing. Judge Mary S. Scriven of the United States District Court in Orlando ruled the testing requirement violated the protection against unreasonable searches.



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Saturday, 25 May 2019

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