Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made a rare joint appearance on Tuesday to advocate drug tests for Texas residents seeking welfare or unemployment benefits, the Associated Press reported.
A bill filed before the Texas Legislature reconvenes in January would mandate drug-testing for "high-risk" welfare applicants while banning them from using public funds to buy alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets. But Perry and Dewhurst, who controls the flow of legislation through the state Senate, said a top priority should be expanding such rules to include Texans applying for unemployment assistance too.
The Bulletin sought feedback from area residents via Facebook and a video, and many responded. Many who responded favored the proposal, saying people who seek benefits should be required to prove that they are drug-free. Others said it is a bad idea that doesn't work and won't hold up to legal challenges.
Here are some samples of the Facebook responses.
"Yes!" said Janet Batteas and Jennifer Perkins in identical Facebook posts.
"How soon can we get it started?" asked Micki Stanley.
Jesse Gomez: "It's about time, if the work force has to be tested to be able to keep their jobs, welfare recipients should be required to do the same."
Tammy Sherry: "Should have been done years ago, cut way down on welfare if that happens.
Ty Lewis: "I don't care about the cost. No free rides. If you fail a test then you have to get a job which in return is someone else working and paying taxes. Pretty sure the cost will balance out.
Lisa Jaso: f we have our athletes drug tested, our police officers, fire fighters, truck drivers, etc all tested, why shouldn't we test them as well? It is our hard earned money they are spending and we deserve to know it's not going for illegal items.....
Deanna Martin Cox: "It's not the poor people that steal, it's the people on drugs that steal. Perry isn't suggesting taking "food stamps" away from the poor, only the drug users, who are poor because they would rather drug than support themselves or their families. In my business it's random drug testing. I depend on my salary to help provide for my family, why should it be different for someone who is depending on the government to help provide for theirs? I do NOT believe this is an unreasonable request at work or with our government assisted programs. Some might say it costs tax payers money to provide the tests, but, so do abusers to the system….."
Willene Mask Dunning: Cut the welfare out....food stamps, support for unwed mothers, cell phones, umployement for over three months and the rest of the freebies the freeloaders take every doy, that the working tax payers has to pay. Enough is enough, this has been going on tooooooo long!" Willene Mask Dunning
Cheryle Fergason: :About time! If I have to take a drug test to get a job, they should take a drug test to 'take my money'!
Jennifer Campbell Hughes: "Random, sure. But all applicants is outrageous. Once you have a drug felony in TX you no longer qualify for Food Stamps already. The process to apply is lengthy and this would only slow down the turnaround time on applicants who really need the benefits. Don't let the bad guys ruin the programs that are helping!
Kelli Stansbury: "It's a costly and unconstitutional idea. They tried it here in Florida and it actually cost the state money because less than 1% of the people on TANF tested positive. It was actually defeated in court. One more black eye for Rick Scott."
Carol King Boyd: "It is great in theory, but probably the cost will outweigh the benefits." Carol King Boyd.
Racheal Bishop: "Good idea or bad idea it's unconstitutional. We may as well do away with it so we can live in a completely controlled and monitored society. We should make it fair if we are going to do it and make all government employees drug test as well because it's not just poor people who have drug problems. I have to say to I can't jump on the bandwagon just yet because I see a lot of red flags with spending, the children it will effect, and what about unemployment that's money those people earned and worked for?"
Edwin Glaspie: "I think its a great idea. Now instead of getting food stamps, desperate poor people can steal and go to jail for being poor and hungry, if they're not shot by homeowners. Watch the crime rate go up! We can be number one if we try!!!
Sarah Chappuis Brown: How about a little research on cost effectiveness here? There is an interesting article today on dallasnews.com which gives a little perspective on the issue. http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2012/11/perry-and-dewhurst-revive-drug-testing-for-welfare-applicants.html/