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Thursday, December 22, 2011

And I would have no problem with being tested myself

Tom Humphrey does a good rundown on my drug testing for public benefits bills and how they are different from the Florida bill.

Campfield said his proposed legislation will be designed to eliminate objections that arose in Florida, both as to the cost and the legality.

"I've looked at Florida and there were some things good and some things bad. We're going to do it differently and make a better scenario," he said.

First, Campfield proposes to have the legislation exclude persons already signed up for benefits and apply it only to new applicants. Also, the applicant would be required to cover the cost without state reimbursement. He estimated the costs could be kept to "only $4 or $5" by limiting the tests to "hardcore illegal drugs," such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

One objection to the Florida law, he said, is that the screen included prescription drugs in violation of medical privacy rights. Another legal objection in Florida was that those found to be using drugs could be prosecuted. His bills, Campfield said, will provide that a positive test be used only to block benefits, not for prosecution.

Campfield said that he believes, when calculations are complete, passage of the legislation will result in the state saving a substantial amount of money, not spending more.


  1. Senator Campfield, I've been reading about this in today's Knoxville News-Sentinel, in the comments section at the end of the article, and you seem to have tremendous support on this one!

  2. "...exclude persons already signed up for benefits and apply it only to new applicants."

    Is this an equal protection issue?

    Isn't it also akin to admitting there is no existing problem?

  3. No. That was put in for legal reasons. They said you could not test retroactively.

  4. "hardcore illegal drugs,"

    Does this mean that someone popping Oxycontin obtained from the street will receive benefits, but someone smoking marijuana won't? Why discriminate? What makes certain drugs "hardcore illegal drugs?"

  5. "They said you could not test retroactively."

    Why not? The state taxed business owners retroactively with an unemployment tax increase.

    You aren't testing retroactively. They would have to be on the drugs currently to fail a test.

  6. Senator: While I believe in the concept of this bill, in that it seeks to cure an underlying problem; that is, individuals who are receiving government funded benefits while injesting intoxicants, however it is fails to prohibit the most destructive and yet legal intoxicant of them all, which is alcohol.
    To me that's similar to the same difficulty we're having with the war on drugs. It is a whack-a-mole approach.
    After a while it simply doesn't make common sense.


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