Vermont is Considering a Bill That Would Require Drug Tests for Those Using Public Assistance (VIDEO)

drug test


(IJReview) A controversial bill on the docket in the Vermont General Assembly is proposing drug tests for those who are on public welfare assistance.

Senate Bill 120 (SB120) would mandate random drug test screenings for anyone who is suspected of using drugs, while benefiting from public assistance in the Green Mountain state.

State Senator Norm McAllister told KPTZ that he doesn’t believe that Vermont should support someone’s drug habit:

“‘We want to take care of our people, but we also don’t want to support a habit. I’ve had a lot of constituents ask why we aren’t doing this.  They’re seeing the problem obviously.’”

Although the bill has Republican support in the General Assembly, the opposition over the bill is strong because some think it would be an undue burden to those who are already struggling.

According to KPTZ:

“‘It’s going to assume that people are guilty of a crime before they’ve committed it or maybe in fact when they haven’t done anything at all,’ said Christopher Curtis, an attorney with Vermont Legal Aid.”

Curtis also said that this kind of legislation has seen “backlash” nationwide, and he would be right.

According to Opposing Views:

New york lawmakers have proposed a similar bill, but many other proposed laws like this one have failed in other states. West Virginia and Arizona recently both abandoned similar laws when drastically less money was saved than had been promised.

Arizona’s lawmakers had estimated that drug testing would save the state about $1.7 million. However, only $4,000 were saved because of the law.”

In some cases, drug testing welfare recipients has found an extremely low number of drug users.

According to the Tennessean, drug tests on welfare recipients in Tennessee found only 37 of over 16,000 people tested, test positive for drug use.

Though Sen. McAllister admits the chances for the bill to pass are “medium to slim,” the bill still has his unwavering support.

—Courtesy of IJ Review

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