On January 22nd, Governor Walker announced his workforce readiness plan, which includes a proposal to drug test folks who receive food stamps or unemployment benefits.
Food stamps is operationally and legally distinct from unemployment, and so the purpose and mechanism for drug testing in each will have to be very different. Recent commentary on this drug testing issue is available from CogDis and the Wisconsin State Journal. And, here is what Governor Walker stated about this proposed drug testing:
Helping People Move from Government Dependence to Independence:
Some employers in high-demand fields, including manufacturing, require their employees be drug-free for safety and other reasons. To assist those looking to secure these positions, the budget includes a plan to require drug testing of those who are applying for or receiving benefits from programs, which may include unemployment insurance, FoodShare, Transform Milwaukee, transitional jobs, and others.
Those who fail the drug test will be offered the opportunity to participate in a drug treatment program, free of charge, as well as job training.
Huh? This quotation is all that Governor Walker has actually said about this drug testing proposal. Based on this language, it is hard to know anything about this proposal other than that drug testing may be a possibility. Will drug testing be limited to former employees of an employer who does drug testing? Or, will the drug testing apply to any and all? How will the drug testing be paid for and how will the tests be handled? Without the actual mechanics and substance for this proposal (perhaps when the specific budget bill is revealed in early February), about all that can be said about who is actually affected . . . meh.
Multiple studies have revealed that higher-income people use drugs more than lower-income people do (they can afford them). However, because of their lifestyles and racial profiling, they’re less likely to get caught and/or prosecuted. And never mind the unbelievable costs involved. My tax dollars at work.