EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDRUG TESTING BILL
from Eyewitness News Online
Bill To Drug Test Welfare Recipients Gains Bi-Partisan Support In Senate But Will Likely Stall
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Mar. 4, 2013 7:36 PM EST
Updated: Mar. 5, 2013 10:21 AM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
At the capitol, drug testing of welfare recipients is once again on the table with the latest version being introduced in the Senate on Monday. But that may be as far as the bill goes.
The bill introduced in the Senate has bi-partisan support with both republicans and democrats sponsoring the legislation.
"It's not to be punitive or take benefits but it's to promote a responsible lifestyle and to get people back in the workforce, those people can't get hired if they're abusing drugs," Senator Daniel Hall, a democrat from Wyoming County says.
The bill proposes testing welfare applicants once they apply, randomly and for probable cause. If recipients test positive for drugs, they would have 60 days to take a second test or to get treatment. If they fail again, they would lose their state benefits for a year, federal benefits cannot be touched. If children are involved, their benefits could be given to another adult.
House Speaker Rick Thomspon has said he supports drug testing of welfare recipients and plans to work on a version of the bill in the House. But the Senate is where the bill will likely stall, Senate President Jeff Kessler says there are better ways to address the drug problem.
"This bill, as I see it, does nothing more than pick out the most disadvantaged, poorest members in our society and target them for punitive action," Kessler says. He also has concerns about the Constitutionality of the bill.
Just last week, a federal appeals court in Florida ruled parts of the drug testing law in that state as unconstitutional. But sponsors of the bill in West Virginia say our state Constitution differs and so does this bill.
"It's not up to any Senate President or Speaker of the House or anyone else to say a bill is not going to advance when the people of West Virginia want this," Senator Mitch Carmichael, a republican from Jackson County says.
The Senate's bill also proposes drug testing lawmakers and those on unemployment.
The house has also introduced a drug testing bill.
House Speaker Rick Thompson says his attorneys are reviewing the recent ruling out of Florida.
MORE NEWS FROM EYEWITNESS NEWS
2012 NEWS: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC
Home | Eyewitness News Newsroom | Storm Team Weather | Eyewitness Sports | Schedules
Send email to email@example.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2013, WCHS-TV8. Portions are
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.