Just on the Internet and in today’s paper this AM, I have a guest column in the a Rapid a City Journal this morning on why House Bill 1076 violates conservative principles, as well as American principles:
HB 1076 presumes applicants for such benefits are guilty, until bodily fluids are provided to prove innocence — and tested at the applicants’ own expense. That stands against one of the most basic principles of criminal justice, the presumption of innocence, which has been recognized for nearly 1,500 years.
As a proponent of limited government this measure troubles me greatly as a dangerous overreach of the authority of the state. Adding more bureaucracy for the purposes of government drug testing citizens of the state en masse and establishing the precedent that it is an acceptable thing to do so, is not a good thing for democracy.
With HB 1076, the state will be testing a significant portion of the nearly 7,000 TANF recipients and roughly 100,000 South Dakota residents who receive SNAP benefits. Ignoring the obvious concerns of expense, mass-testing tens of thousands of South Dakotans to prove them innocent also has a lot of other problems, particularly with the U.S. Constitution.