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Essay about Drug Testing For Missouri Welfare Recipients

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On 30 January 2011, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill and sent it to the senate that would require drug testing for those receiving state Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) funds. Funding from food stamps, medicare, and public housing would not be affected by this bill (Keller – House). According to Columbia Tribune reporter Rudi Keller, the bill is very similar to the Arizona law which is the only other state that tests welfare recipients. Missouri and Arizona would use a questionare and interview which would determine which applicants to test. The two states are also similar in their caseload of 45,017 people on assistance in Arizona and 42,885 in Missouri. The state would not be obligated to provide treatment…show more content…
According to Keller’s article, the law would protect children. It would discourage parents from using drugs which would create a better home environment. It would also ensure that state money would be used for supporting families, not recreational drugs (Keller). Rep. John McCaherty said “The bill will show the state expects TANF recipients to be responsible with public money.” (Qtd. in Keller). The idea behind those that support this legislation is that the state is responsible for ensureing that taxpayer’s money doesn’t ultimately end up buying illegal substances and drug testing is an effective means to ensure this. As with all political issues, there are those on the other side of the fence. People oppose this legistlation for various reasons: from constitutionality to cost. According to a study done by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), welfare recipients are no more likely to use drugs. Furthermore, placing a requirement to be tested may place a stigma upon those receiving welfare which would be counterproductive to their relief (Drug Testing). An editorial by Henry Waters in the Columbia Daily Tribune, the bill is the government attempting to punish a class of people who are presumed worthless (Waters). Another reason people oppose this legislation is the cost. The ACLU study reports the average cost of a drug test at $42 per person. There are less invasive and cheaper methods to
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