New Rule: Any congressman who calls for the drug testing of welfare recipients must be tested for drugs. And while we've got the little plastic cups out, let's also test House Republicans. Okay, we know they're not doing speed, but they're always saying such way-out crazy things about science and women and established fact, they must be on something.
Florida Congressman Trey Radel stepped down last month after spending a month in rehab for his addiction to hypocrisy. Trey turned out to be a Rob Ford-style blow-monkey, which is his business, but he also wanted to drug test folks on food stamps. Forget the NSA, what can be a bigger violation of one's privacy than analyzing one's urine? Mining someone's data is one thing, asking someone to pee in a cup is another.
According to the National Conference of State Legislators, at least nine states have passed legislation concerning drug testing for public assistance recipients. The usual suspects: Florida, Arizona, Kansas, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah. In 2013, at least 29 states have proposed similar legislation, including some of the more progressive states: Vermont, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York. Last December, a US district court ruled that Florida's drug testing law violated constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. Governor Rick Scott is appealing the ruling - and I never thought I'd say Rick Scott is appealing.
In 1971, Richard Nixon, obsessed with leaks, considered giving federal employees lie detector tests. At the time the idea was considered completely outrageous. In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed an executive order requiring all federal employees to be drug free. Polygraph tests, crazy; urine tests okay.
A few years later the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that drug testing does not violate the fourth amendment. Cut to 2011, when the Society for Human Resource Management said that 57 percent of US businesses required all job candidates to pass a drug test. Even in states where marijuana is legal, one may be subjected to a drug test to get a job. This may be the right's tool to push back in states where weed has just been legalized. These drug testing laws could be the new voter ID laws.