December 27, 2014 5:00 pm -

[su_right_ad]Drug testing welfare recipients in Florida was declared unconstitutional.  It also cost the taxpayers too much money. But failed and unlawful policies aren’t getting in the way of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

…Snyder on Friday signed a new law creating a one-year pilot program requiring the Department of Human Services to screen some welfare recipients and test those suspected of drug use.

The program, to be launched by DHS in three or more counties by October 2015, would apply to residents enrolled in or applying for the Family Independence Program.

[su_thin_right_skyscraper_ad]A recipient who was suspected of drug use and failed an initial test would be referred to a treatment program. Failing a second test, or refusing to take one at all, would result in the termination of benefits…

“This pilot program is intended to help ensure recipients get the wrap-around services they need to overcome drug addiction and lead successful lives. We’ll then have opportunity to assess effectiveness and outcomes.”

The program won final approval this month in the Republican-led Legislature, where critics argued it would further stigmatize individuals who are already struggling and have not been shown to use drugs at any greater rate than other residents.

The potential fiscal impact of the pilot program is not immediately clear, but DHS will be required to report results and costs back to the Legislature. Unlike an earlier draft, the final version of the legislation did not include a direct appropriation.

Implementing a statewide program could cost between $700,000 and $2.4 million, according to the non-partisan Senate Fiscal Agency, which said any costs or savings for the pilot version would depend on the counties selected and the number of recipients who lose benefits.

Michigan implemented a mandatory welfare drug testing pilot program in 1999, but federal courts quickly struck it down as an unconstitutional and unreasonable form of search.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

49 responses to Michigan Governor Signs Law To Drug Test Welfare Recipients

  1. KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker December 27th, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    This is the sort of cynical policy that sells well to wingnuts based on falsities that they believe and how they perceive the world around them. They don’t care if it’s a proven failure, or if it’s unconstitutional and costs them millions.

    • berry sucks December 27th, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      So you THINK its OK for people on welfare to use drugs?

      • Red Mann December 27th, 2014 at 6:10 pm

        So you can’t learn from reality: 1. It doesn’t work, 2. It costs more than it saves and 3. It’s unconstitutional. Of course, the MI taxpayers will pick up the legal tab for the cost of losing this in the courts.

      • OldLefty December 27th, 2014 at 6:24 pm

        Is it different from Wall Street traders who got bailouts and use drugs?

        “In sum, there simply is no competent evidence offered on this record of the sort of pervasive drug problem the State envisioned in the promulgation of this statute. Hence, even if the State intended to hinge its demanded exception to the Fourth Amendment on this thin reed … it has failed to make the evidentiary showing that would be required.”
        – Judge Mary Scriven

        LUIS W. LEBRON, Individually and as Class Representative,

        v. Plaintiff, Case No.: 6:11-cv-1473-MSS-DAB

        DAVID E. WILKINS1, In his Official Capacity as Secretary of the Florida Department of Children & Families,

        Case 6:11-cv-01473-MSS-DAB Document 102 Filed 12/31/13 Page 1 of 30 PageID 4132

      • greenfloyd December 27th, 2014 at 11:02 pm

        That’s the core element, a zero-tolerance mentality on illegal drug use and public assistance. No doubt some people who receive aid, also use drugs and cannabis. However, this one-size fits all, random approach has already been shown unconstitutional.
        I think drug testing has its place, although it needs to be voluntary or ordered by a judge. It also needs to open doors to recovery, not close them!

  2. Carla Akins December 27th, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Idiots. It’s like a child that can’t learn to stop touching the hot stove.

    • berry sucks December 27th, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      How many times did it take you to stop touching the stove?

      • Red Mann December 27th, 2014 at 6:07 pm

        Uhm, it’s the no-learners like you she’s talking about.

      • Jack E Raynbeau December 28th, 2014 at 1:30 am

        Not as many as the governor of Michigan.

  3. tracey marie December 27th, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    no appropriations means they know it will be struck down and are just doing it for show, they will have a new whining/rally point

    • Jack E Raynbeau December 28th, 2014 at 1:32 am

      They’re trying to outdo Utah in the “message bill” department. For the sake of my tax dollars I hope they win.

  4. tiredoftea December 27th, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    What’s that definition of insanity, again?

    • tracey marie December 27th, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      feed the meatheads with red meat non issues

    • mea_mark December 27th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      You didn’t last long. Hope you enjoyed your stay. Have a Happy New Year, somewhere else, you’re banned.

    • Red Mann December 27th, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      So this is what passes for a clever remark for a RWNJ.

      • Jack E Raynbeau December 28th, 2014 at 1:33 am

        Clever? No, I’m sure he considers it brilliant.

  5. ExPFCWintergreen December 27th, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Nothing comes easier to Republicans than hating the less-fortunate

    • Red Mann December 27th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What a clown. How’s life in RW upside-down and backward world?

  6. Eric Trommater December 27th, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Snyder is part of that new, “moderate” wing of the GOP who think the main problem in society is that the poor have too much money.

    • berry sucks December 27th, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Eric must be a taker.

      • Eric Trommater December 27th, 2014 at 5:52 pm

        You must be confusing me with GE.

        • berry sucks December 27th, 2014 at 5:55 pm

          Your the ones who confused, not me.

          • Larry Schmitt December 27th, 2014 at 7:14 pm

            Nice grammar, syntax and spelling there. Strike three, you’re out.

          • Jack E Raynbeau December 28th, 2014 at 1:38 am

            Your who confused? 😉

          • Jack E Raynbeau December 28th, 2014 at 1:35 am

            What about “his the ones”. Complete your sentences.

            Another mouth breather trying to sound brilliant.

  7. mea_mark December 27th, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    referred to a treatment program — And who pray tell is supposed to pay for this treatment program. Is Michigan going to pick up the tab?

    • MIAtheistGal December 28th, 2014 at 8:32 am

      From the rarticles I’ve read, yes, the state (read: taxpayers) will pick up the cost for the treatment. Should save money, right?

  8. whatthe46 December 27th, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    should test all civil servants as that’s money coming from the tax payers. i want to know which of them are geting higggghhhhh!

  9. raypc800 December 27th, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    At the same time. All of the Governor’s office and all members of the state legislature should be required. To take both drug and alcohol breath tests when state legislature is in session. After all they are also being paid by citizen dollars.

    • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker December 27th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      I know you specified the State Legislature, but wouldn’t it be a hoot to see what’s flowing around John Boehner’s blood stream every day?

      • Red Mann December 27th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

        Some of it absorbed from his tanning solutions.

      • raypc800 December 27th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

        Sounds like a good addendum to add. But I bet only thing would be found is a form of antifreeze in Boehner’s veins no blood to test!

  10. FrankenPC . December 27th, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Every time I try and wrap my mind around the core cause of these kinds of terrible ideas, I keep coming back to capitalism. As long as wealth accumulation is our one and only goal in life, then we will continue to have what capitalists consider collateral damage which is another way of saying human suffering. We can try and band-aid* the problem as much as we like, but we will never cure the underlying disease*.

    Maybe think of it this way: If you took two children and raised one to stare at the stars and dream the big dreams and took the other to learn how to obsess about their retirement and investments, how would we EXPECT them to act when they’re older?

    We have no dreams. Maybe our race is already dead. We’re just waiting for nature to clean up its mess.

    * By “band-aid” I mean use the federal courts to shut the ludicrous idea down.
    * By underlying disease I’m referring to greed and authoritarianism.

    • Red Mann December 27th, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      While I’m not exactly a religious person, the Bible certainly nailed it here:

      1 Timothy
      6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
      6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows

      • FrankenPC . December 27th, 2014 at 6:58 pm

        You don’t have to be religious to see that this very problem was heavily pondered thousands of years ago. And yet, here we are.

        • Red Mann December 27th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

          Greed and fear, staples of the right, are absolutely destructive to humane civilizations.

  11. StoneyCurtisll December 27th, 2014 at 7:54 pm


  12. rat618 December 27th, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    and the bill to test politicians?

    • amongoose December 27th, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      I’m sure they are going to get to that one as soon as they pass the one making insider trading illegal for congressional critters.

  13. SteveD December 27th, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    “Take a look at states that have implemented drug testing for welfare recipients. Tennessee discovered this year that less than 1 percent of welfare applicants use drugs. (It was 0.12 percent, to be exact, compared to the 8 percent of Tennesseans who use illegal drugs.) Utah spent about $30,000 on testing only to find that just 12 of 4,730 (that’s one-quarter of 1 percent) welfare applicants tested positive for drugs. Those rates were higher in Florida, at 2.6% of applicants, but administering the program cost more than denying benefits saved, and the initiative was finally ended as a violation of the Fourth Amendment. In Virginia, a similar program was tossed because it would cost about $1.5 million to implement and would save less than one-fifth of that amount in benefits not distributed.”-

    The real reason for the implementation is to provide private contractors “a taker not maker” sweetheart deal with the state govt to run the program, of course at taxpayer’s expense. And not the feigned response of Snyder, “we’re doing this to better equip welfare recipients in their transition off the system into meaningful employment.” Right, Rick.

    Deals like this one are always about increasing the income, wealth, power and opportunity GAPS between the already rich and the rest of us. Always.

  14. Jack E Raynbeau December 28th, 2014 at 1:22 am

    I mourn the state of my birth. They have lost their way.

    • MIAtheistGal December 28th, 2014 at 8:28 am

      I still live here and the state has lost its way. This ‘leadership’ leaves a lot to be desired, let me tell you. We’re racing to the bottom it seems.

      • mea_mark December 28th, 2014 at 11:03 am

        You will soon be joining us here in Texas. Hooray, misery loves company.

        • Jack E Raynbeau December 28th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

          Utah can out-crazy Texas any day but at least we have the redrock country.

  15. rg9rts December 28th, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Lets start with the gov…here’s your cup….the legislature and I’ll bet like the results in Florida …they’ll find more positives in the chambers than in the entire population of those on welfare…$50 bucks a test….got money for that I suppose…glad the gopee has it priorities straight

  16. MIAtheistGal December 28th, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Thanks for the wasting of my tax dollars, MI republicans. I think we should drug test all of our politicians. After all, you have to be smoking something to ignore the established evidence that welfare recipients do not use drugs at the same rates as the general population. They use them far less.

  17. mmaynard119 December 28th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    What ALEC wants, ALEC gets.