WELFARE-ROLL DRUG TESTS DEBATED

Joe Hart & Kay Lee (mrjah@flakeysol.com)
Fri, 2 Jul 1999 23:42:15 -0500


[mailto:owner-november-d@drugsense.org]
On Behalf Of Vivian
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 1999 7:11 PM
To: hf@hemp.net
Cc: hemp-talk@hemp.net; november-d@drugsense.org
Subject: Nov-D: RE: WELFARE-ROLL DRUG TESTS DEBATED (fwd)

This is craziness and must be stopped. They talk about trillions of
dollars over budget but they prey on the poorest of the poor. These days
will be marked by history...
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Subject: RE: WELFARE-ROLL DRUG TESTS DEBATED
Newshawk: Mike Gogulski
Pubdate: Sun, 30 May 1999
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 1999 The Charlotte Observer

Contact: opinion@charlotte.com
Website: http://www.charlotte.com/observer/

Author: ROBYN MEREDITH, New York Times

WELFARE-ROLL DRUG TESTS DEBATED

Michigan plan requires applicants to submit or forfeit benefits
DETROIT

-- In a controversial and unusual effort to move more welfare recipients
into the work force, Michigan plans a pilot program that would require
thousands of those applying for aid to take drug tests to qualify for
benefits.
	Starting in October, Michigan welfare applicants under 65 in three
locations yet to be chosen will be required to take drug tests or forfeit
their
benefits. Those already receiving benefits would be randomly tested.
Those who test positive for illegal drugs would be required to get treatment
to collect welfare money, and those who refuse treatment would be dropped
from the welfare rolls.
	Against a tide of opposition from civil libertarians and welfare experts
and mixed reaction from recipients, Gov. John Engler said the program would
help those who needed drug treatment to get it and to obtain jobs.

	"The idea is that workplace testing today is so common," Engler said. "This
is a tool that will help identify some of the problems that need to be
treated."

	Michigan was one of the early leaders nationwide in the effort to end the
decades-long system of guaranteed welfare benefits and to replace it with
time limits and other changes intended to force those on welfare to work.

	Since October 1992, when Michigan's welfare changes began, the state's
caseload has dropped about 60 percent, to 89,866 families from 225,359. With
many of those most-able to find jobs already working, Michigan is trying a
new approach on welfare. The mandatory drug tests, which other states have
considered but rejected, are just one indication of its new direction.

	Other states have considered similar drug testing programs but have backed
away. New York and Maryland planned to require drug tests but found that
other types of screening like questionnaires were cheaper and more
effective. Four other states -- New Jersey, Minnesota, South Carolina and
Wisconsin -- randomly test welfare recipients with felony drug convictions.

	The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is considering
suing the state to challenge the program on constitutional grounds, arguing
that the mandatory drug test violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition
against unreasonable search and seizure. But Douglas Howard, the new
director of the state welfare agency, defends his plans.

	"We're in an economy now where job placement isn't as tough as it was 10
years ago," he said. "The challenge is in job retention."
_____________________________________________________________
Shared by Kay Lee
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