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Bill requires welfare recipients to sign waiver of their Fourth Amendment rights

Low-income parents seeking federal assistance would be forced to sign away their Fourth Amendment rights under a bill proposed last week by Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee.

The Welfare Integrity Act of 2013 would require applicants for and recipients of assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to sign a waiver of their constitutional rights and submit to random drug tests. The program helps poor families with children pay for living expenses such as rent, heat, utilities and personal care items.

"Currently the federal government enables drug abusers a safety-net by allowing them to participate in the TANF program," Fincher said Monday in a statement. "Instead of having to make the hard-choice between drugs and other essential needs, abusers are able to rely on their monthly check to help them pay their bills."

"By allowing random drug checks, we can ensure families who receive TANF benefits use them for their intended purpose of feeding, clothing and providing shelter for their children, while cutting the tie that enables drug abuse," he added. "It's not unreasonable to ask folks to stay clean in order to receive federal assistance."

Those who tested positive for drug use or have been convicted of drug-related crimes would be temporarily denied TANF benefits under the bill. Those denied three times would be permanently barred from the program.

Similar legislation, the Drug Free Families Act, was introduced to the House in 2011, but died in committee.

Republicans in state legislatures across the country have pushed to require welfare recipients to submit to drug tests. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a temporary ban on Florida’s law, ruling that requiring the drug tests violated the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizures.

Michigan has also attempted to implement a welfare drug testing law, but it was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2003.

by Anonymousreply 2103/05/2013

I think there should also be random drug testing of members of Congress - they, too, are on the public dime.

by Anonymousreply 103/05/2013

FFS, aren't Republicans supposed to be careful spending public funds? Drug testing SNAP (food stamp) recipients cost more than it saved in Florida.

by Anonymousreply 203/05/2013

So they want to spend more in test administration than they're giving people in aid?

Bye, America. It's been fun.

by Anonymousreply 303/05/2013

[quote] So they want to spend more in test administration than they're giving people in aid?

They do, because Republicans are idiots.

by Anonymousreply 403/05/2013

R5 The difference is that an employer pays for that. If we do that for government aid, we would spend an amount to test and store that data that would come close to what we give in aid.

If people want to limit welfare, they should just pass laws doing so.

by Anonymousreply 603/05/2013

Racism at work.

by Anonymousreply 703/05/2013

Newsflash - you can't afford to maintain a drug addiction with the amount of money you get in public assistance. Florida tried this plan and discovered, shock of all shocks, that about 98% were found to be clean and it cost the state more in testing than it saved in throwing out the 2% who didn't pass.

This is just another way to punish and demonize the weak, just like the new proposed IN law that requires a transvaginal ultrasound both before AND after getting a morning-after pill. It's about degrading these people, which is why they will continue to do it even if it's proven to cost more money. Financial arguments only work when the "right" people benefit - the extra money spent to make the low-lifes remember their place is more than worth it.

The owners of the drug-testing companies will do quite well, of course. Just Iike the governor of Florida's wife, who owned just such a company and saw her business boom with the passage of the law. But I'm sure that was just a coincidence.....

by Anonymousreply 803/05/2013

R7 - why is this racism?

by Anonymousreply 903/05/2013

The only Amendment that we believe in is the Second.

by Anonymousreply 1003/05/2013

[quote]This is just another way to punish and demonize the weak, just like the new proposed IN law that requires a transvaginal ultrasound both before AND after getting a morning-after pill.

What the fucking fuck? This can't be accurate. The morning after pill is taken to PREVENT contraception from occurring at all. Why the fuck would anyone think to involve an ultrasound in that?

by Anonymousreply 1203/05/2013

ACLU will destroy this bigoted shit.

by Anonymousreply 1303/05/2013

[quote] Why is this racism?

We've spent 140+ years separating people of color from white people in this country in every possible way.

We've segregated them, kept them from jobs, made sure they couldn't get fair loans, etc etc etc.

And then when they're fighting over the table scraps of humanity, we're denying them even help with the basics.

I'd love to see welfare stopped, and I don't disagree that there's a culture of welfare dependency.

But if we want someone to blame, we (the Caucasian US majority) needs to step in front of a fucking mirror and own up to HUNDREDS of years of decisions.

by Anonymousreply 1403/05/2013

I didn't say negros should do drug tests. Idiot. I said ANYONE on publc assistance should submit to drug tests. Unless of course you are saying minorities are the biggest recipient of assistance.

by Anonymousreply 1503/05/2013

[quote] I didn't say negros should do drug tests

Wow, how enlightened.

Spoiler alert: no one uses the word 'negro' anymore.

by Anonymousreply 1603/05/2013

r16 that was my point.

by Anonymousreply 1703/05/2013

As long as we agree pot isn't a drug and pharmaceuticals are.

by Anonymousreply 1803/05/2013

In the same vein, those receiving any kind of assistance, food stamps, WIC etc. should give up their second amendment rights and turn in their guns.

by Anonymousreply 1903/05/2013

More war on the poor

by Anonymousreply 2003/05/2013

God I hate right wingers.

by Anonymousreply 2103/05/2013
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