Florida law requires it.
There’s a variation of it in Arizona and Missouri, too.
Just what is “it”?
It’s the requirement that people receiving welfare and food stamps submit to random drug testing.
And if some state lawmakers’ efforts pay off, West Virginia could be on that list, too.
The Mountain State wouldn’t be alone though. More than 20 states across the nation are seeking to adopt stricter laws that would require public aid recipients to take drug tests.
The issue is even gaining ground in Washington, D.C., where U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., has introduced a new version of the Welfare Integrity Act, which would require random drug testing to be performed on welfare recipients.
Closer to home, the bipartisan proposal in front of West Virginia lawmakers would impose random drug tests on welfare recipients and anyone getting an unemployment check. The proposal would stop a check going directly to the recipient after failing to come clean on a second test; the first positive test would direct a recipient to counseling.
The goal? Ultimately, the bill would prevent recipients from using tax dollars to buy drugs, helping curb the drug prevalence throughout the state. Plus, the measure takes steps to assure children in families where drugs have been detected won’t be denied money they need for essentials.
But officials are already voicing concerns that because the bill was assigned to three committees in the state Senate, it will be more difficult for it to reach the Senate floor for a vote. It first must go to the Health and Human Resources, chaired by Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, a physician. From there it goes to Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha. The final stop is Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion.
We hope the bill moves through the committees without the hassles of what freshman Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, described as a slowdown tactic.
“It’s obviously a mechanism to delay consideration of it by the full body,” Carmichael said. “I’m disappointed that it’s triple referenced. However, let everybody have a full and open debate on it. Send it to as many committees as they want to, and let’s get it moving.”
He referenced “overwhelming” public support for the bill, and it’s no surprise.
Think about it. How many people working in the public sector are required to undergo some sort of random drug testing? And don’t stop there — even some privately owned companies require it. Countless people in this state — and nation — submit to random drug testing and prove they are drug free in order to continue working and earning a paycheck.
Why should it be different for those receiving public assistance?
And it wouldn’t stop there. In an effort to “lead by example,” the measure would provide random drug screens for members of the Legislature. Lawmakers who test positive for drugs would face the forfeiture of their pay.
We think it’s past time for West Virginia to enact a law of this type. We hope each committee member — including Marion County’s own Roman Prezioso, if the bill makes it that far — gives the bill the careful consideration it deserves.
Passing this bill is a chance for the state to lead by example as well.
Florida law requires it.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
Funds donated to United Way make community healthier, happier, safer place
A dollar you give to the United Way of Marion County could feed a hungry family.
That dollar could protect a woman and her children from an abuser.
Or the dollar could mean that a family receives credit counseling to lift them out of overwhelming debt.
It could fund Scouting programs, where boys and girls learn lifelong lessons.
Project Launchpad puts critical concept of diversifying state economy into play
The case for diversifying the state of West Virginia’s economy is past the point of debate.
While it is our hope that coal can continue to have a role in our nation’s power-generating matrix, we’ve learned our lesson about over-dependence on a single industry. Particularly being overly dependent on an industry that, in the eyes of federal regulators, is out of fashion.
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