Drug testing for welfare recipients a must


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The Prairie Opinion. Art by Chris Brockman.

The Prairie Opinion. Art by Chris Brockman.

In Texas, a bill that would require drug testing of some welfare recipients is now being passed on to the Senate. According to The Dallas Morning News, the bill, which won unanimous approval from a Senate panel Tuesday March 26, would require new and renewing applicants for temporary cash payments, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, to take a written test that seeks to determine if they are at high risk of drug abuse. If their answers raise suspicions that they could be abusing drugs, the Health and Human Services Commission would require a drug test. The agency also would have to administer a drug test to people convicted of a drug felony and applicants who previously have tested positive.

It’s about time. People who receive assistance from the state should not be allowed to spend what they are receiving on illegal or unnecessary items such as alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets. Those of us who work hard to pay our taxes should not have to continue enabling those who can’t seem to get their lives together, which is what has been happening for years. If this new bill were to be passed, it would mean those people who are not able to pass a drug test would no longer receive assistance. Admittedly, this could pose a problem for the children of those particular families. That is why, according to The Dallas Morning News, the bill now states that the commission would respond to the parent’s second failed drug test by designating a “protective payee” who would receive the cash benefits for the children.

This seems like a great way to ensure that children do not suffer because of their parents’ decisions. Good parents, however, should feel the need to provide for their children before worrying about selfish wants and feel obligated to spend their welfare, or any other kind of assistance, in such a way that would ensure their children have everything they need.

If this new bill passes through the Senate, it would mean those who are drug abusers will no longer be able to rely on those who are living responsible lives to provide for them. Granted, many people who receive assistance from the state are trying to make things right by getting jobs so that they will no longer have the need to rely on the state. For those people, the new bill should not be a problem because they are already doing what they should. However, those who have been lazily dependent upon the state without making any effort to improve their lives will now be forced to either get their act together or suffer the consequences. This is the simple and logical truth. If employees have to be drug tested before getting paid, citzens on welfare must be drug tested before getting paid. Parents should prove the same thing. This isn’t a matter of being fair or treating everyone the same. It’s simply a matter of common sense.

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