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Continued: Tevlin: Drug testing those on welfare harms more than it helps

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 17, 2014 - 8:45 PM

Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, said a hearing on the issue will happen early in the upcoming session, but there will be no vote because the bill will be laid over for possible inclusion in an omnibus bill.

“My concern is this [mandate] is just a way to further stigmatize people who need help,” said Liebling, who said drug users should be given treatment rather than barred from a program for five years.

Charles Samuelson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, said he is “constantly befuddled by how much government gives to corporations,” yet no one seems to care whether anybody receiving that aid is doing drugs.

“Every state subsidizes corporations,” Samuelson said. (Remember, they’re people too!) “Will they say if you want that money, take a drug test?”

Perhaps nothing depicted the dichotomy between how we look at the various groups that receive some sort of government aid and what that says about their character, as the debate last year over the farm bill.

Those eager to snatch benefits away from the poor who used drugs fought to include mandatory drug testing of food stamp recipients in the bill.

They made no mention, however, of the people the subsides are aimed for: farmers.

 

jtevlin@startribune.com • 612-673-1702 Follow Jon on Twitter: @jontevlin

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