Vermont May Begin Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Mar 20, 2015 5:00 PM
Vermont May Begin Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

Vermont may be the next state to drug test people who receive public assistance. A new bill proposed by Republican Sen. Norm McAllister would mandate random drug tests for people on public assistance who are suspected of partaking in illegal drugs.

From WPTZ:

A controversial bill, requiring random drug tests for Vermonters on public assistance is still on the table in the Statehouse.

“I've had a lot of constituents ask why we aren't doing this. They're seeing the problem obviously,” said McAllister.

Senate Bill 120, cosponsored by McAllister, would make random drug tests mandatory for anyone on public assistance if they're suspected of illegal drug use.

Opponents worry the bill is an attack on Vermonters who are already at a low point in their lives.

Other states attempting to drug test welfare recipients have either seen their programs ruled unconstitutional or have seen lower-than-expected cost savings.

Personally, I'm torn about this. Clearly, there's cause for concern in Vermont (hence this bill's introduction), but at the same time, the program may not be worth the cost. While this bill probably won't become law in Vermont, it's interesting that a very liberal state is opening up the conversation about the issue.