Bennett calls for drug testing for those on state aid

Legislative Staff Release

Published 10-Feb-2011

Legislation filed by state Rep. John Bennett would require recipients of state aid to undergo routine drug tests as a condition of eligibility.

“I realize there will be legal challenges to this idea, but from a common-sense perspective, it’s a no-brainer,” said Bennett, a Sallisaw Republican. “If you work for me as a paid employee and test positive for drugs, I can fire you. Well, those receiving state services are being paid by the taxpayers of Oklahoma and we should have the right to fire you if you abuse drugs.”

House Bill 1083, by Bennett, would require those applying for state-provided assistance to undergo urine screening for illicit drugs upon initial application and then every six months following.

The cost of the test would be deducted from the first payment to the applicant if he or she passes.

Any applicant failing or refusing to take a drug test would forfeit eligibility for state-provided benefits for the next 90 days. An individual who fails a drug test while receiving benefits would be ineligible for further benefits for one year.

Under the bill, the decision to deny services could be appealed and overturned if the applicant can show the testing process was faulty.

Bennett, who previously worked on a Drug Task Force for the local sheriff’s department, said his constituents are concerned when they see local drug dealers receiving state benefits.

“Everyone knows who the local dopies are and it is extremely frustrating to law-abiding citizens to see those people subsidized with our tax payments,” Bennett said. “People should not get paid to do drugs on our dime.”