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: 1
- Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you - 64
- Portman's good point: A leadership deficit all around - 3
- Wheeler in Dist. 5: A GOP fighter for the little guy - 4
- GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help - 12
- Obama's indecision: In NH, only Ayotte urges action - 56
- Concealed controversy: Our 'Mother, may I' gun policy - 57
- Innis in the 1st: A strong choice for Congress - 11
- Obama waits: A terror threat grows - 41
- For U.S. Senate, Scott Brown best NH candidate come November - 73
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Goffstown's Bourque impresses; Memorial, Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton win in Queen City Jamboree - 0
- Hanover boys soccer edges defense-minded BG - 0
- NH Fisher Cats, Pierre stun Rock Cats in 4-3 win - 0
- Helping hands for new St. Anselm students in Manchester on move in day - 0
- To market, to market: Market Basket shoppers flock on in - 0
- Nashua Market Basket employee: 'Worth every day of work lost' - 0
- NH teen killers to get sentence reviews after state Supreme Court decision - 0
- Manchester raid came 8 months after home invasion - 0
- NH killer in 1991 Smart trial seeks time with wife - 0
Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you
Enter to win tickets to see Paula Poundstone
Win tickets to see Steven Wright
Goffstown's Bourque impresses; Memorial, Bishop Guertin, Pinkerton win in Queen City Jamboree
Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test