Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Does Drug Testing TANF Recipients Create Jobs?

The Indiana General Assembly is in session. Whenever state legislative assemblies are in session, there seems to be a contest over who can be the absolute worst at legislating, and our Assembly certainly gives the others a run for the money.

The Indiana House passed something that died off last year. They overwhelmingly passed a bill that would randomly test recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) for illegal drugs. If they fail the drug test, they can continue receiving benefits while getting treatment. According to the IBJ, cost of treatment would be left to the TANF recipient.

As I wrote two years ago, similar efforts in Florida showed that TANF recipients had a lower-than-average rate of illegal drug usage than the general population. Florida also cost a lot more than any money that was saved. And the legality of the Florida law has been put in question, with a US Court of Appeals saying that no "special need" has been shown to justify suspending 4th Amendment rights for TANF recipients.

For an assembly that is supposed to be all about jobs, education, and the economy, I fail to see how legislation that specifically is designed to punish poor people for being poor advances any of those goals. I also don't see why this is allowed to proceed when many other groups of people who get money from the State of Indiana one way or another are not given similar treatment.

1 comment:

  1. More drug war nonsense. It won't create jobs, but it will create more criminals who will rob for food.

    You cannot have both a free country and drug prohibition.


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