Republicans vote to subject VIEW welfare recipients to unnecessary drug testing

“Are we testing any other group of people for drugs besides poor people?” Sen. Yvonne Miller 

Today, Senate Republicans continued to push their radical agenda on Virginians, voting for Senate Bill 6 in the Rehabilitation and Social Services committee, which subjects recipients of welfare to unnecessary and belittling drug tests. Republicans are intent on turning the clock back on Virginia, and today voted to force their partisan agenda on the poorest Virginians.

Sen. Yvonne Miller (D-Norfolk) said, “Are we testing any other group of people for drugs besides poor people? It’s clear what’s really going on here: some legislators think that poor folks are more likely to abuse drugs — which is just not true. The state should never single out a single group of people for discrimination.”

Senator Mark Herring said, “Very few of those who qualify for temporary public assistance use illegal drugs. This new $2.7 million program will, in fact, cost Virginia taxpayers more than it will save, and divert resources away from families truly in need.”

Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said, “We give money to plenty of organizations and people without testing them for drugs. Why aren’t we drug testing the employees of Virginia corporations we give tax credits to? What about the CEOs of companies that have state contracts? I am appalled by conservatives who just don’t respect the work ethic of poor Virginians.”

Senate Republicans are importing failed legislation from other states. Last year, a similar program enacted in Florida found very low levels of drug use among welfare recipients — about 2 percent. The Tampa Tribune reported that the legislation would have cost Floridians at least $178 million per year, had a federal judge not struck down the law for potential violation of the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

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