Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Florida, watch Kentucky on welfare abuse

Florida's drug testing of welfare recipients law has been in the news this week because a judge there stopped the testing, saying the law is unconstitutional.

The judge is right, but Floridians eager to reduce welfare abuse need only look to Kentucky State Representative Lonnie Napier for guidance.

Florida's law indiscriminately drug tests all welfare recipients. Drug testing of welfare recipients can only work if there is probable cause to suspect drug use. And remember, this only affects people who are on public assistance.

Rep. Napier's bill not only orders drug tests for welfare recipients suspected likely to test positive, it also removes benefits from people who refuse to be tested. Should the Kentucky bill be enacted, it's likely very few tests will actually be given because those targeted will just not show up to be tested and will then be dropped from the rolls.

Florida's law not only fails the constitutional test, it fails the common sense test by wasting lots of money testing everyone on welfare. Resistance to Napier's bill is strong in Kentucky's dysfunctional legislature, but Florida would do very well to follow his lead.

And then hopefully their results will help us change Frankfort.