Home » Opinion » Editorials
Drugs and the dole: No mandatory testing
Florida law requires drug testing for welfare recipients. State data disclosed last year in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that only 2.6 percent of recipients tested positive for illegal drugs. And the tests cost the state $45,000 more than they saved. The law was suspended by court order, and a trial is scheduled for this March.
Other states that tried similar laws found that the incidence of drug use was small and the savings were smaller than promised, sometimes non-existent. At a legislative hearing on LeBrun's bill, Sarah Mattson of New Hampshire Legal Assistance called it a "very high-cost, very low-return idea." That is an accurate description.
The fiscal note attached to LeBrun's bill shows that it would cost New Hampshire taxpayers up to $239,000 (the state has to pay for the tests of applicants who test negative, which would be almost all of them). The savings are projected to fall between $50,000 to $219,000. High cost, low return.
Then there is the constitutional question. Michigan's mandatory testing program was ruled an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches, and this bill would bring a legal challenge on similar grounds.
A policy to test recipients who provide reasonable suspicion that they are using illegal drugs might be cost-effective and constitutional. Blanket testing for all recipients is likely neither and should not be pursued.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Legislative ethics: NH way works better than most - 0
- Blue shame: Obamacare's big change - 17
- Obamacare's new trick: Only temporary relief - 21
- Banning cell phones: Impulse shopping in the House - 10
- Bad Joe: Levasseur stalls again - 2
- Good Joe: Kenney for Executive Council - 1
- Insurance exchange: NH Dems, GOP switch sides - 2
- Bottle store blues: The useless grocery mandate - 2
- Finding city revenue: Seek more private partners - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Yet another must-win scenario for men's hockey team - 0
- Nashua mayor to aldermen: Don’t alter rules on city contracts - 0
- Merrimack-Trinity semifinal to be followed by Memorial-Central in Div. I basketball - 0
- Pinkerton-Londonderry rivalry set for Div. I hockey semifinal - 0
- 'Mathletes' chosen to represent NH in national competition - 0
- Parking lot study to go before Peterborough voters - 0
- Former Derry Town Administrator John Anderson asks judge to dismiss charges - 0
- Board of Education to vote on Nashua North High principal - 0
- Pembroke Academy wants to help at-risk students - 0
For New Hampshire towns, it’s time to vote
Planned Parenthood funds S&M Web video
Blue shame: Obamacare's big change
NH delays enforcing liquor warehouse pact
Ted Siefer's City Hall: It was all about chickens, alleged threats and nocturnal wanderings