Happy February, people!
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
First, a bitch’s standard St. Louis Post-Dispatch website link warning – the comment section of Stltoday.com has a condition known as BigotryHateRanciditis, which manifests itself through hateful comments full of inaccurate assumptions about people of color, poor people, immigrants and LGBT people. Read with caution!
Missouri legislators have proposed a bill that would require welfare recipients to pass drug tests in order to receive aide.
Some legislators say this legislation will protect taxpayers.
Other Missouri legislators, like Sen. Patrick Dougherty (D-St. Louis), point out that the bill singles out poor people and suggest that the legislation should be expanded to include anyone who receives state funding for anything. In the spirit, Rep. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City) has already proposed a separate bill that would require drug testing for legislators and their staff.
My initial reaction to this shit was disgusted frustration. The assumption that folks on welfare are rampant drug users is flawed and Lawd help us if the grand plan proposed by the Republican majority in the Missouri House and Senate to solve this states major budget problems is mandatory drug testing for poor people receiving welfare.
But after some thought…and a second cup of coffee…a bitch began to ponder what this kind of legislation says about the legislator who proposed it and those who support it.
This is the kind of legislation that makes a bitch wonder about a person’s knowledge base and, thus, question whether they are fit to hold office and legislate.
Do they have a habit of legislating based on rumor and assumptions?
Yes, mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients is disturbing and unethical in it’s singling out of poor people who are not the only folks in the state who receive aide funded by taxpayers. But a bitch is also disturbed by the fact that this apparently reactionary legislation has been proposed without the motivating fuel of…well, facts.
The bill assumes that there will be a benefit to taxpayers…because it assumes that there are a lot of welfare recipients on drugs...but where are the numbers?
They might not be there. Hell, Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R-Lake Saint Louis) acknowledges that there isn’t a problem of widespread drug use among Missouri teachers but he’s still proposing drug testing to crack down before there is a problem…and that assumes that Missouri teachers are poised on the brink of an orgy of illegal drug use.
With so many real and inarguable problems facing Missourians, is it too much to ask for Missouri legislators to address those problems before using the people’s time and money to pontificate about alleged problems and suspected abuse?
Do these legislators have any clue about addiction?
It seems as if these lawmakers think that addiction is something folks indulge in because they can get over on the system. But addiction is a medical issue and needs to be addressed with more treatment programs and options…which would also help address any potential abuse of tax-payer dollars by helping Missourians get off of drugs instead of punishing them for being addicted to drugs.
But that’d be too much like right…right?
Yes, the state of Arizona has already passed legislation based on previous drug testing legislation proposed in Missouri…and yes, Arizona claims that their requirements will save their state millions of dollars. That may or may not be true. What we do know is that these laws do little to nothing to address the issue of drug addiction in Missouri…and for the record, drug addiction is not exclusive to the ‘hood any more than welfare recipients are exclusive to the ‘hood.
If state legislators want to pass laws that protect tax-payers while assisting our communities then they’ll propose legislation that helps folks address their addiction, helps families stay fed and remain housed while loved ones are addressing their addiction and they'd set aside this kind of panderific bullshit.
But that assumes that these legislators want to pass laws that protect tax-payers while assisting our communities and this bitch must confess that I have little proof that that’s their motivation on all manner of topics.