Funny How That Works

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

The Indiana legislature was considering a bill sponsored by state Rep. Jud McMillin to require drug testing for welfare recipients. But then my new favorite state-level politician (hey, it’s a low bar!) Rep. Ryan Dvorak engaged in some top-shelf legislative trolling.

Apparently running with the notion that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t go to abusers of drugs and alcohol, Rep. Dvorak’s amendment requires legislators to submit to drug tests and a random breathalyzer test. They would have to reimburse the legislative council for the costs of these tests. If the legislator refused or failed the test, he or she would be subject to discipline or an assessed penalty by his or her chamber.

And it passed! Here’s the punchline:

I’m hearing that, with this amendment, Rep. McMillin is no longer so enthusiastic about the bill and will not be moving it forward.

Well of course it won’t. If anything, there’s a much stronger argument for drug testing the people who write and vote on laws than there your average welfare recipient.

(Thanks to Zach Wendling for the tip.)

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24 Responses to “Funny How That Works”

  1. #1 |  DK | 

    I hope this catches on in other state legislatures. As Gary Johnson would say, “50 laboratories of innovation”.

  2. #2 |  CalebT | 

    Crippling drug addiction is largely a negative result of the drug war, and so is poverty in many ways.

    What would happen if drug testing was mandated for corporate welfare recipients? Let’s get a piss test for the next NFL owner looking for a new stadium.

  3. #3 |  Stephen | 

    “(hey, it’s a low bar!)”. I laughed. :)

    They seem to claim that it’s something about passing constitutionality in the courts but it would not surprise me at all if some of them were scared.

    The irony is that I wouldn’t mind if some of them smoked pot.

  4. #4 |  jrb | 

    I’ve long thought that politicians are the last people we should allow to write and pass laws.

  5. #5 |  marco73 | 

    Maybe we should test them for the absence of drugs. How they could come up with some of these laws and not be drunk or stoned is beyond me.

  6. #6 |  Aresen | 

    marco73

    Power is the strongest and most addictive drug of all.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    If anything, there’s a much stronger argument for drug testing the people who write and vote on laws than there your average welfare recipient.
    </blockquote

    Only if they are required TO BE on drugs before making laws. No one stoned would kill so many or be so mean.

  8. #8 |  All linky, no thinky « Blunt Object | 

    […] Funny how that works (The Agitator) He notes that his new favourite politician, Indiana state rep. Ryan Dvorak, took a piece of “welfare recipients should be pee-tested” legislation and upped the ante: Apparently running with the notion that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t go to abusers of drugs and alcohol, Rep. Dvorak’s amendment requires legislators to submit to drug tests and a random breathalyzer test. They would have to reimburse the legislative council for the costs of these tests. If the legislator refused or failed the test, he or she would be subject to discipline or an assessed penalty by his or her chamber. […]

  9. #9 |  Mike T | 

    I bet you’d get a lot higher savings if you passed a law that simply cut off access to welfare for unwed mothers who have a second child on the government’s dime and did the same to the men who got them pregnant. There would probably be a lot of overlap here and it wouldn’t require any invasion of privacy.

    One of the sad things about how much money is spent on these programs is that writing software which will rigidly enforce the legislature’s “business rules” for these agencies is easy. Very easy. Anyone with about 2-5 years of business software experience could write software which would let various local and state agencies talk to each other, compare notes and enforce the law as written to prevent abuse.

  10. #10 |  David | 

    Legislators are not on welfare and so the comparison doesn’t hold (football stadium owners are, though!) but still, its nice that they get a taste of their own medicine.

  11. #11 |  Doug | 

    I used to work for the Indiana General Assembly. From time to time, they’d have evening session, and I assure you a few of them would not have passed a breathalyzer after they came back from the dinner break. I figure they should put one of those ignition interlock devices on the voting machines.

  12. #12 |  CyniCAl | 

    Cop on cop crime makes me sad.

    http://news.yahoo.com/officer-shot-killed-fellow-police-calif-011712475.html

  13. #13 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @#10
    I know the PC stance–and I honestly don’t root for people to get hurt/killed. But still hard to not think about all the obvious things.

  14. #14 |  Loretta Nall | 

    That is what we have planned in Alabama. I have a Republican Senator and a Democratic House member who plan to introduce a bill requiring all elected officials and state workers to submit to random drug testing, at their own expense, should they try and pass a law that requires drug testing for those seeking public assistance. I’m pretty sure that will quell the Republican fervor for this Unconstitutional piece of….

    Y’all wish us luck!

  15. #15 |  Loretta Nall | 

    Just spoke with the AL Republican Senator who planned to monkey wrench any public assistance drug testing bill. He says that although the bill has been filed he has not heard a single peep about bit since the media coverage a few months ago and does not expect it to go anywhere. If it does gain traction then he will kill it with an amendment to require drug testing of elected officials.

  16. #16 |  xysmith | 

    #14 – Loretta Nall : What’s unconstitutional about drug testing welfare recipients?

  17. #17 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #12 CyniCAL:

    If it was more common for police to–rather forcefully–arrest one another, we might be in a better situation in this country. If enough cops dropped brutal or corrupt cops on their asses and cuffed them on street corners for all to see, this institution might be in better shape. As it is, it will be up to the people to hold police accountable. But this is how it always should have been, we just forgot who owns the police.

  18. #18 |  CyniCAl | 

    I agree Helmut — divide and conquer. But that’s just wishful thinking. Mob soldiers come and mob soldiers go, but the mob always survives.

    In this case, there’s a lot of speculation that the shooter was the 17-year-old girl’s dad. It does seem kind of strange that they made such a fuss about 17-year-old. There’s no mention of real, not statutory, rape in the article, but it’s early yet.

  19. #19 |  Bergman | 

    I have a strong problem with the idea of a compulsory test at the expense of the one being tested. You’re not allowed to say no without suffering penalties (financial and possibly criminal), but you’re not allowed to refuse to pay either? With the skyrocketing costs of medical treatment these days, it’s not difficult to envision a choice between making sure one of your kids doesn’t starve to death and complying with the law.

    Such a compulsory test is almost certainly unconstitutional anyway, regardless of out-of-pocket costs, under the takings clause of the fourth amendment. Then again, if the feds can require you to buy something from a corporation under the commerce clause, anything is possible.

    What makes me wonder about legality though, is the idea of amendments. Amendments are added to the existing constitution, after it is written, that modify how the original document operates. In other words, they had the commerce clause, then they amended the constitution with the bill of rights, modifying the document. How, then, can one of the original document clauses overrule an amendment that altered the clause?

  20. #20 |  Windy | 

    @ #19, I have asked that same question, more than once. I have never received a reply.

  21. #21 |  Assorted links — Marginal Revolution | 

    […] 2. Is this what (American) austerity looks like?, and drug tests for legislators. […]

  22. #22 |  Goober | 

    @16 – I wonder what is unconstitutional about making drug testing a pre-requisite for obtaining public assistance, also. Welfare isn’t mandatory. if you don’t want to take drug tests, don’t go on welfare. If you want welfare, then you should agree to whatever terms and conditions the people from whom you’re mulcting your subsistence determine is necessary for you to recieve their largess.

    It’s that simple. If you want to hold the gun barrel of government against my head and force me against my will to fund your lifestyle, then you’d better be prepared for me to get to have a say in how you live your life. If you want to be kept like a child, then prepare to get yourself some parenting.

    And no, what I’m saying isn’t heartless. It is realistic. If you’ve got enough money to fund a drug habit, then perhaps you don’t really need my help after all. If you have a drug habit that has ruined your life and you need help to get back on your feet, fine, you’ll get it, but you’ll do it under strict rules and your condict had better be of a quality to indicate to me that my investment in you isn’t going to be ruined the moment you have enough extra cash to go buy your next 8 ball.

    If you want to take my money, you’d better be prepared to live under my rules. Otherwise, you’re free to not take my money and leave me the hell alone.

  23. #23 |  Michael | 

    +1, #21 Goober.

    The only thing “unconstitutional” about drug testing welfare recipients is that there are government welfare programs that are funded from taxes I’m forced to pay.

    I’m all for legalization of drugs, gambling, whoring and other vices, but I’ve long said the best way to handle it would be to check the ID of any participant in such against a database of welfare recipients. If you’re on the list, you can still buy your drugs, drink, lottery tickets, etc., but you lose your “checks”.

    Any way to cut down on the entitlement programs. I’m for wholesale cuts in all of them, but a good way to start is by eliminating people who clearly are making poor choices with how to spend their money. “The borrower is slave to the lender” or some other truism applies well enough here.

    Do all the drugs you want, but I’ve got my own (drug free) hobbies to finance before I fund yours.

  24. #24 |  Goober | 

    I want to add that I think that the unconstitutional part of the whole mess is the fact that the Federal government is taking my money and giving it to someone else. If Welfare isn’t a 10th amendment issue, i don’t know what is.

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