Ohio legislators recently introduced a bill that would require those seeking government assistance to submit to drug screening and testing.
Failing the drug test would not immediately disqualify the applicant from eventually receiving funds. However, a failure on the drug test would require the applicant to seek treatment for dependency. This would also disqualify the applicant from receiving funds for six months. The State however, would not punish families in need, based upon the mistakes of the parents. The bill would allow children to continue to receive benefits even if the parent fails the drug test. A guardian or church would be required to act as a third party to receive the funds, in place of the parent.
State Representative, Ron Maag, R-Salem Township, states that the bill is to combat drug dealers who end up with government money. He also believes that the drug tests would protect taxpayers and addicts. He would like to see drug addicted citizens getting the treatment they need.
This bill appropriates $100,000 for treatment programs. This appropriation is being attached to this bill because a previous drug testing bills lacked such an appropriation and simply denied assistance funds to applicants testing positive for drugs. Now, this bill will allow applicants failing the drug test to seek treatment for drug issues.
As of May 2015, roughly 110,000 people received cash welfare benefits from the State of Ohio. 95,000 of those people were children. While many Americans fear the idea of cutting government benefits, 13 states have passed bills that set up drug testing requirements to receive cash assistance. Florida’s drug testing rules were struck down as they were in violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search.
Interestingly, states have gathered the statistics on welfare applicants and drug testing. According to the news site, Think Progress, applicants for governmental assistance test positive at a lower rate than that of the general population. In fact, it was such a low number, that it calls into question the amount of money being spent on testing and the amount of money the politicians would hope to save by keeping drug users from receiving cash assistance.
Jeffrey Fogel is an attorney at The Law Offices of Bradley Jeckering in downtown Mechanicsburg. He enjoys golfing, watching Ohio State sports and being outdoors. Send your suggestions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org