Posts tagged ‘Democratic Party’

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Withdrawl After Amended To Include Testing Lawmakers



First Posted: 01/27/2012 5:36 pm Updated: 01/27/2012 6:27 pm

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Video , Class Warfare , Temporary Assistance For Needy Families , Drug Testing , Indiana Drug Testing , Unemployment Drug Test , Welfare , Welfare Drug Testing , Politics News

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A Republican member of the Indiana General Assembly withdrew his bill to create a pilot program for drug testing welfare applicants Friday after one of his Democratic colleagues amended the measure to require drug testing for lawmakers.

“There was an amendment offered today that required drug testing for legislators as well and it passed, which led me to have to then withdraw the bill,” said Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), sponsor of the original welfare drug testing bill.

The Supreme Court ruled drug testing for political candidates unconstitutional in 1997, striking down a Georgia law. McMillin said he withdrew his bill so he could reintroduce it on Monday with a lawmaker drug testing provision that would pass constitutional muster.

“I’ve only withdrawn it temporarily,” he told HuffPost, stressing he carefully crafted his original bill so that it could survive a legal challenge. Last year a federal judge, citing the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure, struck down a Florida law that required blanket drug testing of everyone who applied for welfare.

McMillin’s bill would overcome constitutional problems, he said, by setting up a tiered screening scheme in which people can opt-out of random testing. Those who decline random tests would only be screened if they arouse “reasonable suspicion,” either by their demeanor, by being convicted of a crime, or by missing appointments required by the welfare office.

In the past year Republican lawmakers have pursued welfare drug testing in more than 30 states and in Congress, and some bills have even targeted people who claim unemployment insurance and food stamps, despite scanty evidence the poor and jobless are disproportionately on drugs. Democrats in several states have countered with bills to require drug testing elected officials. Indiana state Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) introduced just such an amendment on Friday.

“After it passed, Rep. McMillin got pretty upset and pulled his bill,” Dvorak said. “If anything, I think it points out some of the hypocrisy. … If we’re going to impose standards on drug testing, then it should apply to everybody who receives government money.”

Dvorak said McMillin was mistaken to think testing the legislature would be unconstitutional, since the stricken Georgia law targeted candidates and not people already holding office.

McMillan, for his part, said he’s coming back with a new bill on Monday, lawmaker testing included. He said he has no problem submitting to a test himself.

“I would think legislators that are here who are responsible for the people who voted them in, they should be more than happy to consent,” he said. “Give me the cup right now and I will be happy to take the test.”

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Palin pressed on Medicare during bus tour stop


Mount Vernon, Virginia (CNN) – The politically charged battle over entitlement reform briefly interrupted Sarah Palin’s tightly scripted bus tour on Monday, when a tourist visiting George Washington’s historic home at Mount Vernon told Palin to “protect our Medicare.”

A middle-aged woman who said she worked in the health care industry approached Palin while she was signing autographs and posing for pictures with tourists at Mount Vernon, the second stop on Palin’s closely watched “One Nation” bus tour.

“I work in health care,” the woman announced. “Please protect our Medicare.”

Reporters covering Palin’s Mount Vernon visit were positioned too far away to hear the remark, but a CNN microphone picked up the audio.

It was not clear if Palin responded. She was swarmed by starstruck tourists and drawn in multiple directions, so it is possible she did not hear the comment.

The exchange comes as Republican presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have been forced to answer for a controversial budget passed by House Republicans that would dramatically alter the popular health care program for seniors.

The cost-cutting budget, designed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, would replace Medicare with a voucher system that would let patients buy health insurance on the private market. Democrats, meanwhile, are accusing Republicans of trying to abolish the program.

Palin’s visit to Mount Vernon was her second bus tour stop of the day, before heading to Fort McHenry in Baltimore and the battlefield at Gettysburg.

Palin and her family were escorted through the Mount Vernon grounds by John Marshall, the manor’s designated tour guide for special guests. They entered the historic grounds on the “One Nation” bus – which features yellow Alaska license plates – through a back entrance.

The tour lasted about 45 minutes, according to a Mount Vernon official who guided members of the media to an outdoor position about 100 yards from the Washington home, where they could take photographs of the Palins.

Once in view of the press, Palin and her daughter Piper were seen listening to a handful of Mount Vernon employees in period dress.

Daughters Willow and Bristol walked ahead, while husband Todd lagged behind and chatted with John Coale, an informal adviser and the husband of Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren. A handful of staffers were also present.

Also joining Palin were her parents, Sally and Chuck Heath. Chuck Heath was wearing a purple T-shirt emblazoned with “ALASKA” and excitedly snapping photos.

The family posed for a portrait in front of the Washington home, and then shook hands and took pictures with the group of tourists. They also visited Washington’s tomb before departing.

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