The Times West Virginian

Opinion

March 8, 2013

Random drug testing concept: ‘Get it moving’ in Legislature

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.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

  • Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past

    Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
    Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.

    July 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?

    I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
    “Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
    I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.

    July 13, 2014

  • We must take all weather emergency alerts seriously

    In a weather emergency, every second counts.
    Think back to the derecho that devastated the state just two years ago. The powerful wind storm caused nearly 700,000 people in West Virginia to lose electricity, some who didn’t have power restored for weeks. A state of emergency was declared, and all but two of the state’s 55 counties sustained some damage or loss of power.

    July 10, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads