Senator Tim SchafferToday, Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) introduced SB 69 which, if passed, would say that if you request the following from the State government:

  • Heating assistance
  • Housing assistance
  • Medical assistance
  • Food Assistance

Then you must first agree to submit yourself to a urine screen.  If you refuse or if you test positive for any controlled substance that is not prescribed to you, then you are ineligible for any aid, but unemployment. (Yeah, I don’t know why that was the only one exempted either.)  The bill has no exception, even if you tested positive but are currently undergoing treatment.  Relapse? Too bad.  Freeze and starve, Ohio doesn’t care.  Never used drugs, doesn’t matter.  You want government help, you gotta give the government your pee.

What I do know is that simply asking for government assistance does not make one a suspect of a crime.  I also know that in 2003, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, en banc,  ruled that the only State law in nation like this, Michigan’s, was unconstitutional as it constituted as violation of its citizens Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures under the U.S. Constitution in the case, Marchwinski, et al v. Howard.  Given that the Sixth Circuit is the federal Court of Appeals over Ohio as well, it’s unlikely that SB 69 would be upheld by the Sixth Circuit given Marchwinski.

LotsoUrine However studies done while Michigan’s law was in place found that… drug use among welfare recipients is no different than the population at large.  Also, instead of saving money, it actually cost more because, well, someone has to scientifically collect and test all that urine.

 A recent study issued this month calculated that at a cost of $35-$76 per test, testing every applicant regardless of any lack of suspicion, and given the percent likely to actually test positive, it’ll cost a State somewhere between $20,000 to $70,000 per actual welfare recipient who tests positive.  Seriously, it’s just not worth it. 

The good news is that unlike the unconstitutional “heartbeat” abortion bill, this bill only has one other co-sponsor and is likely to die in committee.

Hey, maybe they’d get more support if they required business executives who apply for RobsOhio assistance to be tested, too.  I mean, shouldn’t corporate welfare recipients be suspect, too?  Oh, that’s right.  White businessmen never use drugs.

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  • Mike B.

    Unconstitutional, costly, and mean-spirited. It’s a hat trick of horror.

    I’m sure it will help the economic situation to deny needed social services to those struggling with substance abuse. In fact, the poor and working poor should have to pay to take the drug test, and the fees should go directly into JobsOhio’s kitty. Win-win.

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  • Annekarima

    I am sorry Modern, I cannot resist, now we know where the Jobs Are!!

  • Mom2two

    “…testing every applicant regardless of any lack of suspicion…”

    I am sure the GOP would happily profile people to test only those who seem “suspicious”, ala Arizona’s immigration laws, in the name of “saving money”.

  • I’m going to choose to look at the bright side. At least now my military experience as a Assistant Urinalysis Program Coordinator and Observer will come in handy in getting a state job 😛

  • Anonymous

    When’s “Urinetown” coming back to Columbus? We should buy Sen. Schaffer a ticket.

  • Anonymous

    David, always look on the briiiight side of life…

  • Mom2two

    Don’t you mean “GOPee” Senator?

  • ThatDeborahGirl

    My question is, what does one thing have to do with the other? What is the logical explanation for assuming that someone who is unemployed or not able to have a job is also suspect of being a drug addict?

  • Anonymous

    Good one.

  • Anonymous

    Obama supposedly wants to cut funds for LIHEAP. Scott Brown (R) from MA said considering the severity of the winter, this could cause a hardship for many in his state and is against cutting the funds.

    ‘Way to go Obama! You found the perfect way to keep critical programs – just propose eliminating them! Then the Baggers will sure to support them!

    Oh, please, please, please! “Whatever you do,” cried Brer Rabbit, “Don’t throw me into the briar patch”

  • Anonymous

    They don’t want their precious tax dollars to be used on illegal drugs. They’d rather bail out the Banksters so they can buy bigger and faster yachts and luxury cars.

  • Deb_mcdaniel1952

    What a freaking moron. Let’s spend money we don’t have to test people who don’t take drugs. God, are all Republicans immoral, stupid mouthbreathers? None of them have the brains God gave a cabbage.

  • Hawkewoode708

    What damned fascist idiot. Thank God I don’t live in Ohio!

  • sickofdrugs

    I have absolutely no problem with this. Drugs are overtaking our society. living off of the govt. has become a way of life for way too many people. I live in a rural area with a very large number of people living on assistance. I can’t name a single household on assistance that does not have a drug addict or an alcoholic living there. They make no attempt to get a job, not even in good times. I totally believe the state should help those who need it. I would just about bet that if people were tested, close to 50% would be positive for illegal drugs. It may be unconstitutional but it’s still a good idea. Complaining about rich people getting tax breaks and corporate welfare is a totally different subject than this one. We should also be testing teachers. With our children’s future in their hands, I have never understood why they aren’t tested. To get a factory job, you have to be tested. Why not to receive benefits provided by taxpayers. I really don’t see anything mean about it. Want help? Stay clean.

  • Anonymous

    You get tested at a factory job for safety reasons. An intoxicated person can cause someone else or themselves to be seriously injured or killed. It’s a liability risk for the employer.

    Your claims are nothing more than stereotypes that objective, scientific studies show are simply not true. If it’s unconstitutional… then stop, go no further. It’s unconstitutional ends the debate unless the debate becomes let’s repeal the Fourth Amendment.

  • missingtedalready

    NBC 4 interviewed the good senator & asked if drug abuse by financial assistance recipients was a problem. Schaffer, the astute political mind he is, couldn’t really answer the question. In theory, maybe it’s not the most horrible thing, but really, is this the biggest problem Ohio is facing? Are the Republicans going to play this by saying “it creates jobs?” What jobs? Drug testers?

    On election night, Hayley Barbour said that Republicans should not treat any of their victories as a mandate. Did you hear that Kasich & your ilk? 49% does not a mandate make. People fell for your “jobs, jobs, jobs” rhetoric. My how quickly they have lost their focus.

  • Anonymous

    I’m actually impressed that Channel 4 did a story on this since it was just introduced yesterday and has virtually no chance of becoming law. Thanks for the tip. If we can find the video of the story online, we’ll post it.

  • Comrade Kira

    About time.

  • Victry20012002

    difference is that in factories their are greater chances of injury…Duh!

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