Remember when Florida's legislature mandated drug-testing for welfare applicants, and writer Carl Hiaasen challenged lawmakers to get tested themselves? Meet the Indiana House, where Republicans are also pushing a measure to require drug screens for welfare recipients.
Last week, Indiana House member Jud McMillin, a Republican, proposed testing people on welfare. Democrats argued that for consistency's sake, Indiana should drug-test lawmakers, too -- why should lawmakers make the poor jump through hoops that they're not willing to go through themselves? The Republican-controlled chamber amended McMillin's bill to require that every lawmaker get tested for drugs and alcohol both. In response, McMillin pulled the legislation.
Now he's back with a watered-down version. Mary Beth Schneider at the Indianapolis Star writes:
Half of the legislature would face random drug testing during each session, and the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore could also order drug testing of a particular member. Lawmakers who refuse a drug test would lose perks such as their parking space, franked mail and laptop computer.
This more limited amendment also passed, along with one that allows someone on welfare who tests positive for drugs to go into treatment and keep their benefits. Indiana's House is expected to vote on the whole bill today.