LePage wants drug tests for those on welfare

JAY, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he will propose a bill in January to require random drug testing for welfare recipients

The Legislature added provisions in the budget this year that allow the state to test those who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds if they have a prior felony conviction. The Portland Press Herald reports (http://bit.ly/swW3sv) LePage said he wants to take it a step further. He said he believes people go "benefit shopping" when deciding where to live.

He made his comments after a chamber breakfast in Jay.

Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice, which provides legal services for the poor, said random drug testing programs in other states have been found unconstitutional.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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Robert Hemingway's picture

Drug testing

When you give welfare to people on drugs you inturn help them purchase drugs.Has anyone not sean a young unemployed man with a divorced or single mother?Do you think kids being in those homes is apropriate?It is in every town in this state.Two things would take place if people were required to pass a drug test to receive a free ride at the taxpayers exspence.Many of the young women who have these fine young drug adict permanently unemployed young men livving with them would search for better men.Secound the people who get their drugs paid for by the taxpayers would have to move to another state.I guess that would be a great loss to this state but I think we can manage with that loss.Why should the law require working men and women to support welfare cheats?Drug test everyone under age 60.They say that is eleagle so here is a plan to deal with that.Force them to apply for a job then let that place do the drug test then drop them.

LePage is a loser..

I have seen an e-mail going around about this same thing for well over a year and I agree that something has to be done, but I think the majority of our help goes to those never born in this country...I have seen it first hand in some of the people I know when they wanted help for an elderly mother that was unable to buy food after the bills were paid for the month..drug testing cost money and is not cheap...how about putting people to work for a weeks worth of benefits..I am sure there are plenty of jobs they could do around this state and they would be getting training to boot..many other ways than testing for the drugs

 's picture

What's the point

Every time one of these measures is proposed, there's no proof given that people seeking assistance are more likely to be abusers of drugs than the general populace. Every time the numbers come back after it get's implemented, it turns out that the drug use rate among people on assistance is lower than the general population.

For those of you so concerned about your "hard earned tax dollars", were you aware that means we'd be spending more on testing than would be saved on the benefits not given out to the 1-5% of applicants they happen to catch?

Stupid and discriminatory waste of money that could be better spent on programs to keep people from having to go on assistance in the first place.

Prove to me that there are more drug abusers among the poor seeking assistance and it's not just a nasty stereotype. Prove to me you'd save money in the long run denying money to people you catch. Don't make people who need help feel any more crappy than they have to because they're down and out. Then we can talk about ways to solve our state's problem with illegal drugs.

Christopher Strout's picture

Have you ever walked into

Have you ever walked into DHS? That is proof enough...

Brass tacks

I do not think the majority of working people want to have this back and forth any longer, PROVE this or PROVE THAT. We just want changes made so that when we work all week we have something left to live on. It is absolutely a fact that most people live well with drugs,paying fines,alcohol and high end foods,expensive cell phones and multiple tattoos all while living on state programs. The working people are now living like low income populations(welfare) and the low income(welfare) people are now living like the hard working populations, I see this everyday and i am sick of it,i want a change that will allow me to keep some of my paycheck. I do not feel this should be open for discussion any longer, It needs to change for the working people !!!

Sorry not on your page..

Sorry but there is a huge number of people using this assistance for other things than its intended use. I do not thinks it has to be so complicated, need assistance here is the guidelines of the program, follow them or don't. If a person / family needs assistance then of course they should be granted the assistance however it needs to be proven/monitored that they are in need and will follow the rules of each program. You feel that the money saved will not be worth the efforts well i feel that new guidelines will deter the entitled people and the ones in true need will understand the need to monitor the programs. If you have ever applied for assistance you know it does not feel good not because of the rules of the program but because you can not provide for your family. Those in need will work the program and get the assistance, those of entitlement will falter the program and need to get there needs met through other means and not on MY OLD TIRED BACK !!!

 's picture

If you're really worried...

If you're really worried about how much you have to pay in taxes, the last place you should be looking is at the pittance spent on assistance. Compared to the amount of money used for tax breaks and sweetheart deals for big businesses, it's a joke. Besides, it's not like they're saying this law will mean less taxes. They'll just spend your money on something else.

here is a solution.

I am not thinking that we will save a bundle on taxes i am thinking we will be in a much better economic state if we stop all the FREE RIDES to those who can work a job. Again this is about big bucks being spent on lazy entitled people who have made welfare a way of life and a ticket to have many children on Maine Care. If the programs were monitored better than our saved monies could be used on job developments, for the folks that truly need the assistance they could be working for all different companies free of wages that would repay the state for the assistance received. Companies would be able to save money on wages and use that money elsewhere in growth developments. This would also serve as a role model for children that work is necessary and generational state aid is not acceptable, some of these families will never work unless made to do so or go without.If you think about it this is a win-win solution for all concerned and future generations will be better for it.

 's picture

Like I said before

Facts would be a good thing to have, despite what you say. Prove the freeloaders exist and deal with them in other ways. Making the 98% of people who apply for benefits legitimately pee in a cup just because you think it will prove a point, doesn't make life better for anyone.

not on the same page

I am not interested in proving any point to anyone, i am looking to end WELFARE AS A WAY OF LIFE. I work with people all day year after year and see so many disabled folks not getting the help they need, the elderly go without medications,heat and home services, mentally ill people do not have a doctor or medications BUT i also see many people living on welfare that live better than most of us. People have their food stamps sold months in advance to cover drug deals, people are selling the spay certificates meant for their pet (for drugs)ETC, If you do not think this is happening on epidemic levels and you do not mind it then there must be reasons you want to protect the very population that is living free off of Maine without qualifying events...... I can guess the reasons but will not list them You keep advocating for the rights of the people who are fraudulent and stealing services from the ones who need it and I will keep plugging away to end this mis-use of funds that could help the genuine populations that need it...

I know that i have to have

I know that i have to have background checks,clean driving records and be free of all criminal activity to work my job. I work many hours a week decades after decades,i pay dearly in taxes that supports all the state programs so why can't the people who are the beneficiaries of my hard work be tested like i am ???? If some say this is a violations of recipients rights then where are the working peoples rights ??? I am in support of most new regulations that will cut back on fraud as i am very overwhelmed and bitter carrying the huge burden of Maine's Economic crisis on my old tired back...... DRUG TESTING,CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES should determine what assistance people are awarded. Remember this was a helping hand program not a way of life.

 's picture

You are right on target,

You are right on target, Brenda. I agree with you. Enough is enough. It is time for everyone to step up to the plate and do what is right.

Thank you

I would like to see it become mandatory for providers to report suspected mis-use and abuse of services. I am provider and a mandated reporter for abuse and neglect but mis-use should be included....

 's picture

I see no problem with this.

I see no problem with this. People have to be tested for employment, school, sports almost everything these days.

Peter Neal's picture

Why Not

What is wrong with testing. If you want some of my hard earned money you should not have any cash flow to buy drugs. If you have enough money to buy recreational drugs you don't need tax payers money. If you want free money play by the rules.

 's picture

Drug testing?

This is not right.

 's picture

wow!

Another grandstanding attempt. Or is LePage still of the opinion that ordering drug testing for people on welfare is constitutional? He could of course just pick up a newspaper, perhaps he would read howthe very same plan was shot down in Florida! While he's reading that he would see that his former buddy Tarren Bragdon of the MHPC was involved in the legal decision. Only involved in that the judge tossed out Bragdon's opinion as meaningless! Wish folks up here had done the same.

 's picture

I support extensive testing

Every payday, a portion of my earnings goes to the state to fund our very generous public assistance. I expect that those on public assistance are not going to use a portion of my earnings to purchase illegal substances. Accordingly, the Governor and, hopefully, our legislature, will install a rigorous testing program to prevent my, and hundreds of thousands of other working people's salaries, to go to the drug dealers from Maine and away roaming our streets. Let's see if the legislature has the collective backbone to get this done.

This is not grandstanding. It is good government.

My guess is that Tarren is still Governor LePage's "buddy." Tarren is a very impressive fellow.

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