THE HUFFINGTON POST: Kansas Drug Testing The Poor And Unemployed Next On The Docket Of ‘Ultraconservative’ Bills

Source: John Celock and Arthur Delaney / The Huffington Post

Lawmakers seeking to abolish income taxes and stymie unions in Kansas think it might also be worthwhile to make the poor and unemployed pee in cups to prove they’re not wasting taxpayer money on drugs.

A favorite policy of Republican legislators across the country, the latest drug-testing proposal has gathered support from leaders of Kansas’s conservative-dominated statehouse. Kansas lawmakers say people who want unemployment insurance or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits would have to undergo the testing, and if they are found to have drugs in their system would be required to receive treatment or have their benefits suspended.

“It adds credibility to the system,” state Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) told The Huffington Post. “People are putting their hard-earned tax dollars into the program to help folks and lift them out of poverty. It makes sense that they are drug-free or are going to rehab to become drug-free.”

Senate President Susan Wagle (R-Wichita) and House Speaker Ray Merrick (R-Olathe) both have signaled interest in drug-testing measures. Gov. Sam Brownback (R) rarely takes public positions on pending legislation, and a spokeswoman indicated to that the drug-testing bill is no exception.

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