Kansas Senate approves drug tests for lawmakers, welfare recipients

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The debate over drug testing moves to the Kansas House.
  • Flickr: Jack Spades
  • The debate over drug testing moves to the Kansas House.
Under a new bill passed by the Kansas Senate, state officials would have the right to authorize a drug test for current or future welfare and unemployment recipients, as well as state lawmakers, if those officials have "reasonable suspicion" that an individual was under the influence of drugs.

As the Wichita Eagle explains, a positive drug test leaves applicants, recipients and state employees (state law enforcement authorized to carry weapons, heads of state agencies and mental health care professionals are also included in the bill) with two options. They can either enter treatment (at the state's expense) or ask for a second test at another facility (at their expense).

Those who refuse the initial test or treatment would be ineligible for benefits. Critics worry that this adds further stigma to those seeking aid, while supporters maintain that this is a way to get help to those who need it to get back on their feet. Senate Bill 149 now advances to the Kansas House.

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