Democrats in Kansas were unable to kill a Republican bill that would require welfare and unemployment recipients pass a drug test, but they were successful in adding an amendment that would require lawmakers to also face testing.
The bill approved by Kansas Senators on Thursday will require applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to undergo drug screenings before receiving assistance. Democrats approved the bill on the condition that the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and legislators also undergo drug screening tests.
State lawmakers may have to take a test to prove they’re not on drugs.
That’s because senators tentatively agreed Wednesday to add lawmakers to a bill that requires drug tests of any welfare or unemployment recipient who state officials reasonably suspect is using illegal substances.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” said Wichita Democratic Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, who opposed testing the poor and unemployed but wanted to include lawmakers if the idea were to pass.
Lawmakers, however, shot down another proposal that would have required drug tests of businesspeople controlling companies that get economic incentives from the state.
In the past two years at least 25 states have considered drug testing cash assistance applicants.
Earlier this week a federal appeals court struck a blow to a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for all applicants to the state’s welfare program.
The ruling, authored by Circuit Judge Rosemary Barkett, added that “there is nothing inherent to the condition of being impoverished that supports the conclusion that there is a ‘concrete danger’ that impoverished individuals are prone to drug use.”