Urinalysis for Welfare…and Legislators?

I took one to earn a paycheck, you can take one for welfareHouse bill 1174 would require those receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and/or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cash payments to submit to some kind of drug screening, If Social Services has reason to believe the recipient are using some kind of illegal drug. Simply put, if you want a welfare check you have stay clean.

Having been in ?the system? for a short time, I can speak with some authority. TANF and SNAP were designed to help to people who are down on their luck for whatever reason. Like the name implies, it is supposed to be temporary, and just enough to get by on until circumstances change. It is not supposed to be a way of life, or total support.

What I witnessed in the parking lot at Social Services office in Sioux Falls totally disgusted me. People were walking of the office, getting into a newer SUV with kids and large flat screen TV in the back seat. These people have learned how to work the system. They have learned how to get more from being poor, then someone working 60 hours a week.  If someone from Social Services suspects drug use, there is very little they can really do.  If they have answered all the right questions on all the right forms, they get what they want.

The goal of Social Services should be to get people to take care of themselves, to the point that there will not be a need for their services. We all (well most of us) know that drug abuse leads down a very slippery road; the end result is often not good. Having people stay clean, and become productive citizens will not only do them good, our society as a whole will be enriched.

I know there are people who will say that this bill will endanger children. Hogwash. The money given to these families is to be used for housing, clothing, pay utilities, etc. If the family uses some or all of that money to buy illegal drugs, isn?t that putting the children in more danger?

This bill is not perfect (very few are) I would like some kind of provision to make help available to get clean and stay that way. Maybe Social Service can work with other agencies, (job service, Volunteers of America, etc.) to really help people get a fresh start. Somehow the programs also need to be tailored to meet the needs of the various families, a one size fits all does not work. Each family is different and each situation is just as different.

Unlike its sister bill HB 1268, these people receive cash payments, whereas Medicaid is paid to medical professionals, with the exception of title XIX. (Travel expenses reimbursement) People should not have to submit to a drug screening to receive medical care, unless they are being treated for addiction, and even that should be between the doctor and patient .

On a side note: The Dakota Women have posted :

Instead of a war on poverty, several legislators seem intent on declaring war on those in poverty. HB 1174 and HB 1268 mandate drug testing for a variety of state aid recipients, but still don?t require drug testing of South Dakota legislators, who are clearly on something.

Just about every job I have held required me to submit to some kind of drug screening. It would be a great idea if our legislators did the same, and make the results public. After all they work for us, or I thought they did.

42 Replies to “Urinalysis for Welfare…and Legislators?”

  1. Anonymous

    As if Nelson and Rausch weren’t in a big enough pissing competition they would now pee in a cup? I love it!

    Make them follow the drug test. MC you are absolutely right!

  2. Anonymous

    So how many other states are proposing or have passed this same legislation?

    What was the cost of administration?

    What was the % of people that failed?

    How much money was saved?

    Did we build in the costs for legal challenges?

    What do we think those costs would be?

    Does this make us a better state?

    If under God, the people rule…would God be happy?

  3. Anonymous

    How about this one:

    Every meeting with a lobbyist must be documented and preceded and followed by a breathalyzer test.

    This seems like a good policy to protect the public purse.

  4. thc

    Son if someone can collect more on a welfare check that working 60 hours a week, then there is an employer out there paying p***-poor wages. And if you saw someone checking into an SUV with a flat screen in the back, examine their voter registration card. It might make you somewhat uncomfortable.

  5. Les

    How about some urinalysis/and/or testing for our federal reps?

    Let’s end profiteering by our Representatives and help pass the Bi-partisan Bill presented by Scott Brown and committee.

    How about we keep our eyes open to how our big 3 vote and debate on this issue!

  6. D.E. Bishop

    M.C. said, “Somehow the programs also need to be tailored to meet the needs of the various families, a one size fits all does not work. Each family is different and each situation is just as different.”

    That is the crux. There are people who desperately need all the help they can get. And there are people who do feel entitled and take advantage. I’m all for weeding out the cheaters. But not at the expense of our sisters and brothers who really need our help.

    For me, the question is, how do we do that?

      1. springer

        No one is stopping anyone from eating. But maybe it’s time for a person to be responsible just a teeny, tiny bit if it comes down to a choice between drugs and food. If they test positive, they can have a choice to get into treatment and continue receiving benefits; or keep on doing drugs and lose the benefit.

        The solution to drunk driving with doing a breath test daily to avoid jail time is working. It is developing personal responsibility. Should also work here. If it doesn’t, don’t complain to me that I should be footing your bill!

            1. Les

              Throughout the days of my lifelong business, I was out a few hundred thousand due to addictions.

              Unfortunately the addicts are not footing much of a bill for anyone Flem.

              How about we all just go get stoned and get on the system?

              1. Bill Fleming

                If you paid into the system, Les, you were paying it forward, addicted or no.

                Hell, the gambling addicts are saving South Dakotans millions in taxes that wouldn’t be paid into the general fund otherwise.

                Same with the people addicted to nicotine and booze. How much more do we think we have to squeeze out of sick people?

                Come on.

                1. Les

                  My costs of operation went up far higher with legalized gaming than any tax savings to me . How much more are you going to squeeze me for Flem?

                  That gaming revenue you speak of is pure BS, the actual cost to SD citizens is higher than if we just paid the tax. A great way of double dipping and calling it tax relief.

                  1. Nhicz

                    BEST YOUR LIFE Change Your Life NOW! Mastermind Group Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and weishd to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

              1. springer

                Nope, same thing. DUI, breath test, stay out of jail. Doing illegal drugs, drug test, continue receiving assistance.

                1. Bill Fleming

                  You don’t have to take a breath test BEFORE you drive, Springer. Do you think you should have to? Should they build cars that way, with a direct satellite connection to the cops?

          1. MC

            I have no problem helping people buy food, find some kind of shelter, or even a good pair of shoes. But When they take the money I give them to buy food or shoes and use it to buy illegal drugs to get high, I am less willing to help them.

              1. BF

                p.s. how about the ridiculous way I spelled ridiculous? People will spend the money you pay in taxes in all sorts of ways you won’t agree with, MC. You need to get over the notion that once you pay your taxes, it’s still your money. It will help you get on with your life.

                1. MC

                  What makes you think that I haven’t bought groceries for a family, open my home to a couple who just lost theirs to foreclosure, or even bought Christmas presents for childern. Not with tax money, with my own money, money that I earned.

                  1. springer

                    MC, don’t you get it?? Those things you just did aren’t your responsibility – they are the gov’ts responsibility (according to the Dems).

  7. Anonymous

    Giving from the heart is the way to fly. Giving for the front page is a joke. Giving in privacy is the real giving we could have.

    So many want to give but only if they make the front page……..

  8. D.E. Bishop

    So you gentlemen have shown a great deal of interest in drug addicts. Fine. But you didn’t come close to my question. I’ll create a simple scenario:

    She has been laid off. He has developed cancer. The health costs, plus all the usual stuff, has bankrupted them. They lost their home. Now they’ve got three children and themselves living in her retired parent’s home. The parents are living on social security . She’s found a job at McD’s, with absolutely no security or benefits. They desperately need their TANF and SNAP. Their ends barely meet.

    There is the 42 year old autistic man. He has never been able to work. He lives with his mother and attends a day program. She is diabetic and unable to walk or drive. The two of them get SNAP and disability help. Their ends barely meet.

    I’m not nearly as concerned with catching the cheaters as I am with keeping people like those from suffering. (But I do want the cheats caught.)

    How do we catch cheats, while not harming those people who desperately need the help?

  9. Ron

    Since there are much greater amounts of tax dollars going to agriculture than “welfare”, (i.e. Ethanol Subsidies, Crop Insurance subsidies, Prevent Plant payments), shouldn’t we require those beneficiaries to test also? This is such a non-issue it is ridiculous to even discuss it. Is there any evidence out there to prove that these folks are abusing the system?

  10. Duh

    This is simple, if you want welfare, pee in this cup. If your a crack ho, no dough.

    BF, if you think that people can’t buy drugs when they receive food stamps, you need to pee in a cup as well. I’ve heard of individuals selling their food stamps for drug cash. I’ve also heard people exchanging their food stamps for drugs. Your constant spinning on even the most obvious issues, illegal immigration, druggie welfare and others is very annoying as usual.

  11. Duh

    Billy: you stated above “I don?t think any of those things, Duh.” Then what’s this in your earlier post: “Drug dealers don?t take food stamps.”


    Again, another worthless spin. Ok, I’ll bite, now your saying that a person has a constitutional right for food stamps even though the tax payer funds used to generate those food stamps are ultimately used for illegal purposes.


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