April 13, 2016 3:55 pm -


This has already been proven costly and unproductive, but that’s not stopping Scott Walker.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and 11 other Republican governors have co-authored a letter urging Congress to allow their states to drug test food stamp recipients.

The letter — written to Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), chair of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee that administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — strikes a paternalistic note. “Drug testing recipients of SNAP benefits… will aid in our ability to move individuals off of this welfare program and back into the workforce as productive members of their communities,” the governors write.

But research shows that drug testing welfare recipients is a solution in search of a problem. While the federal government has thus far vetoed state proposals to drug test SNAP recipients — hence the governors’ letter — states are allowed to drug test people who receive cash welfare benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the administration of which was largely handed to states as part of the 1996 welfare reform bill. But among the seven states with drug testing regimes for TANF as of early 2015, the positive test rates in all but one were below 1 percent, and all of them were below the national drug use rate. Those states together spent nearly $1 million on the testing.



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.