Legislators Totally Cool With Required Drug Testing Unless It Applies To Them

One way to get a politician to withdraw a bill requiring drug-testing for welfare applicants? Just tell him lawmakers also have to get tested, and see how fast he boomerangs. Rep. Jud McMillin, a Republican member of the Indiana General Assembly, took back his drug-testing bill after one of his helpful Democratic colleagues amended it ever so slightly.

The Huffington Post says Rep. McMillin, the sponsor of the bill advocating a pilot program for welfare applicants to be drug-tested, decided to withdraw it once his colleagues made a few tweaks.

“There was an amendment offered today that required drug testing for legislators as well and it passed, which led me to have to then withdraw the bill,” he said.

His reasoning is that it’s currently considered unconstitutional to require drug testing for political candidates, and he wanted to make sure the bill wouldn’t be struck down because of that. However, the precedent involved was for candidates, not those already in office.

The amendment was introduced by Rep. Ryan Dvorak, a Democrat.

“After it passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill,” Dvorak said. “If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy. … If we’re going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money.”

McMillin is going to reintroduce the bill, he says, adding that it’s not that he minds being drug tested, showing his willingness by saying, “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.”

Who’s got a cup?

*Thanks to Gally for the tip!

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Withdrawn After Amended To Include Testing Lawmakers [Huffington Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Eyeheartpie says:

    Politicians are hypocritical? Water is wet you say?

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, this makes it seem like this is abnormal and yet history has shown that one of the first things that happens when a law is proposed is to exempt those making it from having to follow it.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Being a hypocrite is a basic requirement for politicians.

    • rmorin says:

      It’s a consumerist trick to randomly interject political content to drive up page views that have literally nothing to do with being a consumer. It doesn’t have to be good or novel political content, just content.

      • bluline says:

        When people receive social services from the government, they are consumers of those services.

        • rmorin says:

          Sweet! So I have the option of not paying taxes? I didn’t know this all along thanks for the tip.

          We are not consumers in the truest sense when we are talking about social services provided by the government. Yes we “consume” the services but you are taking an incorrect and far too literal interpretation of it. The logo on the top of the page even says “Shoppers Bite Back”, clearly indicating that the goal and purpose of this blog is to deal with consumers in the context of capitalism. Under your flawed logic, we should dicuss which helicopter model the army should buy next on this blog because we are defacto consumers of homeland defense.

          This is not a consumer issue and has no place on this blog except to drive up page views.

          • TeriLynn says:

            bluline said that people who receive social services from the government are consumers. Not that people who pay taxes are consumers.

            I’m not certain if the applicable definition of “consumer” requires goods or services be exchanged for cash, goods or services. However, I know for certain that rmorin’s argument is invalid.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      He’s not hypocritical.

      “McMillin, for his part, said he’s coming back with a new bill on Monday, lawmaker testing included. He said he has no problem submitting to a test himself.”

      Mary Beth misled you by leaving out that important detail in her article:

      “McMillin is going to reintroduce the bill, he says, adding that it’s not that he minds being drug tested, showing his willingness by saying, “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.””

      Of course she couldn’t include the fact that the new bill will also include drug testing for lawmakers, because that would make her article pointless and her title inaccurate. Shame on her, we deserve better than to be lied to.

  2. LanMan04 says:

    What a bunch of assholes these “pass a piss test to get public aid” people are.

    Stop criminalizing poverty!

    • Doubting thomas says:

      What a bunch of assholes these folks who steal money out of all my paychecks and then give it to people to buy drugs with are.

      • LanMan04 says:

        First you have to prove those people exist outside of a statistical anomaly (the ones who buy drugs with your money).

        Florida’s testing this year found a positive rate of 2%, most of which was for pot.

        OH NOES!

        • ARP says:

          ….and when you compare the cost of testing everyone, it ends up costing more in enforcement than savings by denying those who test positive. I’m actually OK with selected persons being tested. For example, if you’ve had a criminal conviction in the past 2 years and are applying for benefits, you’ll need to pee in a cup. But testing everyone is stupid and invasive.

        • parabellum2000 says:

          That’s because most of the druggies refused the test. Even 2% adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars nationwide.

          The effectiveness of drug test is also an issue. Most can be fooled and only marijuana shows up after several days.

          I’d rather stop the war on drugs, and put those funds to better use.

          • LanMan04 says:

            That’s because most of the druggies refused the test.
            Says who? You? Got any sources?

            And why would they refuse the test if it means they’ll get no money? That equals going hungry, which is not fun.

          • exconsumer says:

            That’s a myth. 2% tested positive and 2% opted out. The idea that there were hordes of dropouts is incorrect.

      • El_Fez says:

        Because it’s possible that they had a hit from an employed friend’s bong? That no government money changed hands in the transaction?

        That perhaps they did weed and then wound up unemployed? Weed hangs out in your system for weeks afterwards.

    • Cat says:

      What a bunch of assholes these “pass a piss test to get a job” people are.

      Stop criminalizing employment!

      • alana0j says:

        I agree with drug testing for welfare recipients. As a woman who gets food stamps AND works a job that simply doesn’t pay enough, I don’t feel it’s right that a person can afford their drug habit then wants to collect money that’s intended for people who genuinely NEED it. But while they’re at it. it would seem they should require drug testing for any job…the drug users would lose their jobs and would be unable to collect unemployment…then maybe they’d quit using drugs!!! /s

        BTW before doing all that they need to just legalize marijuana and get it overwith…

        • tooluser says:

          Nobody asked for your opinion.

          That should make you really mad.

          But it doesn’t, does it?

          • johnny_ryall says:

            weird, i thought the whole comments section was an invitation to voice an opinion – whether you have one or just want to be a dick towards someone with one of their own.

            …i also agree completely with alana, especially about legalizing it.

            • alana0j says:

              Yep, potheads are the least threatening breed of people. If the government would focus on the real criminals and less on marijuana users we could perhaps cut down the crime rate.

              That being said, even if it were legal I have the same stance about booze and cigarettes for people utilizing welfare. If you need the help that badly, you shouldn’t be wasting your money on things that not only have zero nutritional value and cannot feed your children, but contribute to a shorter lifespan.

          • alana0j says:

            Nope, doesn’t make me mad at all. Because as the person below me reminded you, the comments section is here for a reason. And I feel my opinion is more valid than someone who doesn’t have to use government assistance to put food on the table. I’d consent to a drug test in a heartbeat and I feel that others who are in the system should feel the same. But wait..why am I still typing? My opinion isn’t valid apparently!

        • Anna Kossua says:

          The problem is they want to make the recipient pay for the test. If you’ve got very little income, you can’t afford the test. And if something goes wrong with you being qualified for government assistance unrelated to the drug test, you might end up spending the money for the test, but not qualifying for assistance. So you wasted upwards of $100 — $100 you couldn’t afford to lose.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        The argument I’ve always heard for mandatory drug testing is “You can’t tell who a drug user is just by looking at them,” but if that’s the case, what the fuck do you need to test them for?

    • 2 Replies says:

      “Stop criminalizing poverty!”

      So you’re saying poverty stricken = drug-user?
      Seems like a pretty narrow minded view.

      They’re not criminalizing POVERTY, they’re testing for illegal drug use… which is ALREADY ILLEGAL.
      Nice straw-man attempt though…

      • exconsumer says:

        Well . . . yeah, you’re correct. Poverty stricken =/= Drug user.

        So there’s no reason to test them for drugs.

    • teamplur says:

      Should they also stop criminalizing Military service? Or how about School District employment?

      • LanMan04 says:

        Name a public school district that tests its teachers. I’m waiting.

        • abberz3589 says:

          I just applied to be a public school substitute in a county in Alabama and I have to take a drug test to be considered for the position.

        • teamplur says:

          San Diego City school district test school bus drivers when being hired and also does random drug tests montly. I don’t know for sure about the teachers, but that’s not what I said. I said the school district. I didn’t specifically mean teachers.

  3. itsdotcom says:

    “His reasoning is that it’s currently considered unconstitutional to require drug testing for political candidates…the precedent involved was for candidates, not those already in office.” Say what?

    • dwtomek says:

      As in, he claimed it would be stricken down due to forcing those already in office, but the precedent only applied to candidates. There was no conflict where he claimed there is.

      • SabreDC says:

        What about an incumbent that is currently running for office? I can see his point. At what point does a sitting representative become a candidate when the majority of their time in office is spent campaigning for their next term?

        • RvLeshrac says:

          It doesn’t matter if they’re a candidate for another office, that’s not why they’re being tested.

      • Conformist138 says:

        I understood that part… but why is it unconstitutional to drug test someone who wants to be the President and totally fine to drug test me before I’m hired for a minimum wage job??

        Really, why is it that low-income jobs drug test but almost no higher positions do? What makes them better or more trustworthy than me? Heck, they’re the ones who can AFFORD all the cocaine!

        • nightshade74 says:

          Well specifically for President –US Constitution, Article II, Section 1 spells out exactly the requirements. Adding another level of requirements would violate the constitution.

          We currently dont have laws preventing people from voluntarily submitting to a drug test
          as a condition of employment.

  4. CubeRat says:

    Kitty is not happy!! Was this picture taken at the Vet’s office?

  5. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    The rain in Spain, falls mainly on the plains !

  6. Megalomania says:

    I’m certainly a fan of drug testing for the people who push through insane mandatory minimum drug sentences and general “tough on crime” election posturing. They can even scrap the rest of that bill, anything that begins holding elected officials to all the standards they create gets my vote.

  7. sir_eccles says:

    I see a politician about to receive a paper cup from each and every one of his constituents.

  8. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    It seems like the real issue, hypocrisy aside, is the issue pertaining the constitutionality of drug testing political candidates and whether the Supreme Court ruling applies to elected officials.

  9. DevsAdvocate says:

    Doesn’t make sense… a politician already has money, poor people don’t. The proposed reason behind ‘drug testing for welfare’ was to prevent poor folks from spending their handout money on drugs… which are illegal.

    Ideally, the best way to defray this topic of conversation is to simply point out the cost of constant testing of recipients, and the accuracy of said testing.

    • chargernj says:

      nah, government leeches are government leeches. don’t matter if they are scamming welfare, or scamming their constituents.

    • red says:

      what about politicians spending their government pay on drugs…which are illegal.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Uh, no. The reason for pushing it was to save taxpayer money. So far, the only state with mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients, Florida, has *lost* nearly a quarter of a million bucks on it. That’s a quarter-million they could be spending on aid, but instead they’re wasting it on testing.

      The mandatory drug testing for sitting members has the same logic behind it: If drug testing one recipient of taxpayer funds is OK, then it should be OK for *ALL* recipients of public funds.

  10. pop top says:

    If people who want state jobs have to take drug tests, why not legislators?

  11. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    The lifeÔªø of the wife is ended by the knife!

  12. Cat says:

    They need to work under the same drug policy I do.

    “We don’t pay you enough to do drugs.”

    That’ll fix ’em.

  13. Stickdude says:

    “Red Solo cup… I fill you up…”

  14. ancientone567 says:

    “His reasoning is that it’s currently considered unconstitutional to require drug testing for political candidates, and he wanted to make sure the bill wouldn’t be struck down because of that.”

    LOL it is unconstitutional to require medicare people to get it too lol under the same rule. The rule he is referring to is unreasonable search and seizure. A modification of this bill passed last year and then was struck down by a judge as unconstitutional when a medicare patient brought it to court. The same will happen again and again because you can’t search someone unless they have committed a crime or you think they have and you are investigating it. Why do these Republican politicians waste all of our time? This is why they never get anything done. They fill the day with bills that will never pass and they know it. Even bills like this that already passed and have been deemed unconstitutional. They stall progress on purpose to make the current President look bad.

    • BobOki says:

      THIS ^^ is what needs to be pointed out more than what everyone else is pointing out. While all good points, I think this pretty much cancels his entire reason for pulling the bill. “I don’t want to waste time trying to get this unconstitutional bill passed becuase my same-as-me enemy put another unconstitutional part on it that effects me.”

      The enitre thing is unconstitutional and as such ALL reasons of that should be put out and the meat of the issue, the ideology behind it is what matters now. Drug tests for you, not for me.

  15. Stickdude says:

    At least the headline says “Legislators totally cool…” instead of “Republicans totally cool…”

    Mary, there might be hope for you yet on a non-political site (such as this one).

  16. AnonymousCommenter says:

    Really – which group of people under the influence of drugs has the greater potential to cause harm to our society? Welfare recipients or legislators

  17. FreeMarketFan says:

    Shame he backed down on this, I wish they’d pass it.

    If you have money for Lucky Strikes you don’t need assistance.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Yeah, because only people with money can become addicted to addictive substances…

    • ancientone567 says:

      Almost everyone I know on assistance smokes you ignorant POS! Everyone on disability for mental illness smokes for the most part. Another ignorant Republican /sighs

      • FreeMarketFan says:

        If you’re getting my money I don’t want you spending it on “wants”.

        No more soda, lucky strikes, cheesy poofs or KFC

        • BD2008 says:

          The thing is, it’s not your money anymore. It is the government’s money to be distributed to the needy. You really need to get over yourself.

    • Kuri says:

      And then you would have called it a “liberal democrat plot” if one of the legislators you support was caught.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Wait… they will test for tobacco use? Last I checked, this would only look for illegal drugs, not cigarettes.

    • AnonymousCommenter says:

      That’s right! Poor people and those in need of assistance have nobody but themselves to blame and they should not be doing anything other than focusing on how miserable their existence is and looking for a job. They should also be banned from public parks, shopping malls, and from participating in any recreational behavior.


  18. parabellum2000 says:

    Its unconstitutional to fire them for failing a drug test, its not unconstitutional just to test them and publish the results.

  19. hmburgers says:

    Hypocrisy? In Congress? You don’t say!

    …McMillin, it’s not that we do or do not think you might be a drug user (I’d say 50/50 at best), it’s that you recognize just how much flack you’d receive from _other_ members of the congress and I’m sure there are quite a few who are using drugs–prescription or otherwise.

  20. hmburgers says:

    Anyone who is paid by the public ought to be fair game for being tested… whether you’re a welfare collector or a congressman.

  21. DualPrsn says:

    If I can get drug test at work. If I fail a test I can get fired, How is this any different? I say drug test them both. No need to support drug addicts with public money. And if we stop only 2% of welfare recipients or politicians from collecting public money that would stills save millions of tax dollars that could be put to better use. Why should they be treated any differently then I am?

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      We would save millions in welfare money, but we’d spend billions on the drug tests and their administration.

      • ARP says:

        Actually, I think Florida spent more money on the testing program than the savings to those who were refused.

      • exconsumer says:

        Exactly. There’s also the issue of search and seizure. We have no reason to think that they are guilty of any particular crime (especially since they tried this in Florida), so there is no reason to search. Yes, you have to do it for your job, but that is something you ‘volunteer’ for (I know it’s not really all that voluntary, but you could, in theory, find another employer who would accept your refusal of the test).

        The government can offer a thing to everyone or to those who meet a certain criteria . . . but ‘those who submit to an otherwise unlawful search’ can’t constitutionally be one of the criteria.

        • NeverLetMeDown says:

          Sure it can be. In order to sue the gov’t, you have to submit to an otherwise unlawful search (x-ray, metal detector) to get into the courthouse.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Also, we would see a skyrocket in drug-related crime and property crime. Drug addict or not, people need money to live. Odds are, they won’t say “well, schucks, looks like I need to go on the straight and narrow and live clean”. A real addict is more likely to get desperate and end up clogging the prison/court system and/or end up on the street where they will do more harm than good to society.

        Sometimes, supporting a leech is better than seeing what havoc they can wreak on the community. In the end, there’s no good answer to fix it all, we just have to minimize the overall damage.

        What really gets to me is there isn’t a proven link between welfare and drug use to suggest they should be legally required to piss in a cup anymore than the rest of us. What’s next, drug test to take the bus? Drug test to vote? I tend to disagree with all blanket testing (all of *these* people must be tested, instead of an individual with reasonable suspicion)

  22. Tim says:

    When Florida tried drug testing welfare recipients, they found that drug use was lower among welfare recipients than it is among the general population.

    Also, the testing cost more than the amount of money saved by trimming the drug users from the welfare rolls.

    • LanMan04 says:

      The point of this testing was NEVER to save money, it’s all about Scarlet Letters and stigmatizing those who need help.

    • Sad Sam says:

      Indeed and said testing was paid by tax payors, so shift of public funds to private health care providers, and of course Gov. Scott’s wife holds stock in the Scott family health care clinics.

    • jayphat says:

      They also found that 25% of people didn’t show up for/refused the test. That kind of skews the results a bit.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Actually, it doesn’t. If all those people combined refused and thus didn’t get money, yet the state still didn’t have any savings overall, that is VERY telling about the cost of testing vs the benefits.

    • JiminyChristmas says:

      A lot of these rules also have the perverse effect of creating more of the bad outcomes they are supposedly preventing. No one spends their life on general assistance anymore; there are requirements to look for work or be in training or school. Likewise, there are plenty of people who both work full-time jobs and collect public assistance. Working doesn’t necessarily disqualify one from getting food assistance, Medicaid, housing n or child care subsidies.

      So, if you have to get drug tested every month – how does that happen? Probably people have to go to some clinic or lab to produce a urine sample. That looks just great to an employer to have a worker come to them and say “By the way, I need every third Monday morning off so I can go to the benefits office to get drug tested.”

  23. Cicadymn says:

    Now only if we could make it so that EVERY bill they pass affects them as well as the public. I bet America would turn around in a month.

  24. oldtaku says:

    I think you could replace ‘required drug testing’ with almost anything.

  25. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Literally, who watches the watchers…

  26. dolemite says:

    Politicians are paid with taxes. Welfare recipients are paid with taxes. I fail to see why their is a specific clause exempting them from it.

  27. Gally says:

    Woo first tip!

    Shaking my head on this one.

  28. dush says:

    It’s unconstitutional to test a potential Representative but no unconstitutional to test the janitor of his office?

  29. jayphat says:

    Everyone keeps quoting the Florida 2% failure rate, so I’ll just leave this here. I’m not saying it’s right one way or the other, just want some factual information presented.

    “Since Florida’s new law testing welfare recipients took effect July 1, 7,030 passed, 32 failed and 1,597 did not provide results”

  30. phonebem says:

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in the fact that the people who have the power to make legal are afraid to take drug tests themselves?

    • phonebem says:

      Wow that really didn’t work at all… My post was meant to say “Am I the only one who sees the irony in the fact that the people who have the power to make (a certain indigenous plant) legal are afraid to take drug tests themselves?”

  31. madmallard says:

    “His reasoning is that it’s currently considered unconstitutional to require drug testing for political candidates, and he wanted to make sure the bill wouldn’t be struck down because of that. However, the precedent involved was for candidates, not those already in office.”

    well there’s your problem. Even when in office, a politician’s first job is to keep his job, not do his job. So he’s always a candidate, even when in office.

  32. human_shield says:

    “Give me the cup right now…but um, not next week.”

  33. regis-s says:

    “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.”

    Sounds like every lawyer in the press when he says: “These charges are completely without merit.” or “My client is innocent of these charges and looks forward to the opportunity to clear his name.”

    Of course then they often plea bargain a deal or are found guilty.

  34. lunyticlyz says:

    So the double standards prevail. How many of the office is doing leisure drugs?

  35. aaron8301 says:

    “… showing his willingness by saying, “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.”

    Who’s got a cup?”

    Great, give another politician a reason to expose his penis.

  36. galm666 says:

    Found this about the guy: http://www.bilerico.com/2011/03/indianas_jud_mcmillin_a_tale_of_glass_houses_rocks.php

    He’s pretty much what’s wrong with the GOP. Legislating morality with no intention of living it.

  37. maruawe says:

    Drug testing should be done on EVERY government employee regardless of where they are employed from the president on down including congress or any one getting government pay or payments

  38. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    I am forced to take a drug test before I am allowed to work for money that is then paid out to welfare recipients. I think it’s only fair they should be drug tested too.

    I also think it’s telling that about 10% of the welfare recipients in Florida were denied benefits because they either failed the test or failed to show up for the test.


  39. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Modern US politicians are almost all corrupt, lying, self-enriching elitists. Got it.

    Now what are we going to do about it? Complain on the internet some more?

  40. ectreece says:

    I work for the federal goverment and am subject to random drug screens. I see nothing wrong with legislators also having to pass a drug screen. That said I work in a VA hospital. If I worked private sector I would still be subject to drug screens. I personally do not want a drunk or high employee taking care of me or a family member.

  41. clearway says:

    I say we test all politicians, no not a pee test, lets get real, we want hair. Can’t beat a hair test.After all holding a government office is serious stuff.

  42. clearway says:

    I certainly agree that drug testing is unconstitutional, for all of us. Invading our privacy.