Public Benefits Drug Test Bill Advances In Kansas
By Phillip Smith, StopTheDrugWar.Org
The Kansas Senate approved a bill requiring welfare and unemployment benefits recipients to undergo drug tests if there is “reasonable suspicion” they are using drugs. But the definition of “reasonable suspicion” includes having worked in a field where drug testing is prevalent.
Democratic legislators successfully amended the bill so that its provisions also include lawmakers.
The Republican-backed bill, Senate Bill 149, passed on a 31-8 vote, largely along party lines.
According to the bill, reasonable suspicion may be arrived at, but is not limited to, “an applicant’s or recipient’s demeanor, missed appointments and arrest or other police records, previous employment or application for employment in an occupation or industry that regularly conducts drug screening, termination from previous employment due to unlawful use of a controlled substance or controlled substance analog or prior drug screening records of the applicant or recipient indicating unlawful use.”
People who fail the drug test would lose benefits until they complete drug treatment and job training programs.
Republicans argued that the bill would help people with addictions kick their habit and prevent state tax dollars from being spent on drugs. But according to a legislative fiscal analysis, the bill would create “a net fiscal effect of increased expenditures of $1,095,468 in FY 2014” and create no net benefit to state coffers in years after that.
The bill now goes before the state House.