Harden To Discuss Unemployment Drug Testing Bill On CNN Headline News at 5:30pm

Doing the bidding of our founder, I’d like to pass on an item from our tipline that Rep. Michael Harden will be on CNN Headline News this afternoon at 5:30pm. Rep Harden will be discussing the proposed bill to require those receive unemployment benefits from the State of Georgia to undergo drug testing. No word yet if CNN will require Rep. Harden to pee in a cup before he’s allowed to answer any questions.

Please watch CNN Headline news tonight at 5:30, CNN weeknights at 7:00pm starting next week, and please also buy one item from each of their advertisers.

33 comments

  1. John Konop says:

    This is a slippery slope on the violation of personal rights. If the person was operating a car, airplane…., but outside of that how far do you go? Do we require drug testing for buying a home, opening up an account at a bank, applying for a student loan…..all of the transactions the government does have a hand in.

    • Josh4507 says:

      When you accept government money, you give up some personal rights. Do we require drug testing for buying a home, opening a bank account, student loans? No. Mind your business. PAYING you to use drugs? Thats our business.

      • macho says:

        I agree Josh. If you don’t want your “personal rights” invaded, just turn down the government money.

      • Mozart says:

        Who is going to pay for the drug testing, Josh? While peeing in a cup takes nothing, providing the facilities and testing to do so DOES.

        Just for once….try…to think beyond the political idea of screwing over people and consider how impractical that idea might be to actually implement.

        • Game Fan says:

          If there’s a way to screw up piss tests and cost taxpayers more money, they’ll find a way. Hey, we all know a significant % of folks getting welfare, ect… are probably doing some type of drugs, but what happens if you take away the handouts? They could easily become predators. Not to mention the expense of legal challenges, data bases, ect… And for the new reader, GAME FAN is opposed to ANY type of redistribution of wealth, but this would fall under ideology, not short-term reality.

  2. kcordell says:

    Let’s start with testing our elected officials, staff, aides, and state government workers that receive their salary from the tax payer.

    • Romegaguy says:

      They used to require anyone running for the legislature to provide documentation that they had passed a drug test. Anyone know when that stopped?

      • Rick Day says:

        When Walker Chandler, who at the time, was running for AG, had the law overturned at the GA State Supreme Court as Unconstitutional. About early 2000’s.

        • griftdrift says:

          It was overturned for State Workers in the early 90s. Pretty much the only time the State Workers Union got anything right. And the worst nine months of my life.

    • analogkid says:

      Agreed kcordell. I’ve said for years that if you want an easy, common-sense way to cut the size of state government, drug test state employees and fire anyone who fails. While I’m absolutely not suggesting that state employees use drugs at a higher rate than any other group, the annual cost for random tests (say $100k?) would easily be made up by the salaries of the first 2 or 3 workers fired for cause each year.

        • analogkid says:

          Grift, I wasn’t aware that the courts had already dealt with this specific issue, although I figured there was some reason I’d never heard this idea seriously discussed. Do you have a link to the decision?

  3. Hussein08 says:

    Unemployment INSURANCE is not a free benefit. It is insurance paid for by workers everyday they worked a job. If the legislature wants to change the terms of that insurance then I think workers should have the option to opt out. Changing the rules mid-game is foul.

    • macho says:

      If it’s insurance even better. They have all kinds of rules associated with insurance, if you smoke you pay a higher rate, etc.. The rules get changed all the time.

    • ByteMe says:

      In almost all states, unemployment insurance is a payroll tax paid by the company, not the individual. It’s a fund that companies pay into and then the states pay back out to unemployed individuals who are “actively” searching for a job.

      Here’s the kicker: our unemployment insurance fund is nearly empty. A lot of the money used to pay unemployed individuals is coming from the Feds right now.

      So if we suddenly have fewer people who qualify for state unemployment benefits due to this law, will the Feds pay in less or the same amount and — if the latter — would that then be a backdoor way to raise revenues for the general budget? I really don’t know the answer here, so curious if anyone else does.

      • griftdrift says:

        Byte, the first half is essentially correct. Employers pay into the trust fund via a payoll tax. That fund is then used to disburse unemployment insurance. It works exactly like it’s name – insurance. It’s very similar to no fault car insurance.

        On the second part, the answer is no. The trust fund and the Fed funds propping it up are separate from the state budget.

        Another fun fact. At one point, the trust fund was around $2 billion and Georgia was considered a model of trust fund management. It had grown so large that back in the late 90s the Legislature effectively reduced the majority of employers tax rate to ZERO.

        During the past 18 months, it has gone from around $1.8 billion to ZERO. That’s the true depth of the recession.

  4. btpull says:

    Do not these State Rep’s have better things to worry about? If we get the Georgia economy going again and stop extending unemployment benefits, the “problem” (if there truly is a problem) will correct itself. I do miss the days of full employment when you could get a new job in a couple of weeks.

  5. Three Jack says:

    how about we ban drug tests period. another bible thumping hypocrite attempting to inflict his sanctimonious views on the rest of society.

    if it passes, rep. harden better be able to show that all his trash hauling, minimum wage employees have been tested.

  6. Rick Day says:

    a few concerns…

    1. How much is this going to cost? Where is the money going to come from? Which sweetheart vendor will get this multi-million dollar pie of pork pie?

    2. 90% of drug tests catch *gasp* marijuana smokers. The state would be, in fact, discouraging cannabis use, and encouraging substitutions, like liquor, and the powders that stay in a system 24 hours in stead of 24 days like the evil weed™.

    3. Like the death penalty, sometimes the innocent are convicted. 15 states recognize medical marijuana and a hand full more are looking at full blown decrim. You A-Hole Republicans don’t want poor people to have access to health benefits, and when they try something herbal, you want to take their benefits THEY paid for in previous employment!

    4. What are these people who responsibly use cannabis going to do to feed themselves and their families, just ‘be punished’? No home for their kids? Is that going to ‘teach people a lesson’ about ‘doing dope’?

    Are you insane??

    Nope, they will, ironically, probably turn to selling weed to help support their family, and to keep them off booze and hard drugs. Sad people like to feel happy. If they don’t have a job, they can turn to drugs. Congratulations, all our problems are solved.

    If I ever see this…..’legislator’ in public, I’ll offer to give him my drug test…a damn TASTE TEST.

  7. Republican Lady says:

    Rick Day,

    Your Comment “4. What are these people who responsibly use cannabis going to do to feed themselves and their families, just ‘be punished’? No home for their kids? Is that going to ‘teach people a lesson’ about ‘doing dope’?”

    How does one responsibly use a substance that is against the law to possess in the first place? It’s more like responsibly breaking the law and the offense should be punished. Many people think marijuana should be legal and break this law because they think it is unjust. That doesn’t make it right.

    One can get a prescription for narcotics but are told they cannot drive or operate machinery. Even in places where marijuana is prescribed medically does not mean one can drive while the substance is in their system.

    One group of government workers randomly tested for substance abuse both legal (alcohol, medications) and illegal (marijuana, cocaine) are first responders and law enforcement. Do you really want a firetruck, ambulance, or police car driven by someone under the influence of any substance coming at you while driving down the road? Or deciding if you are going to be arrested? Or administering first aid? Or cutting you out of a car? Most first responders and LEO’s welcome these random tests.

    Sure the economy is tough but that does not been breaking the law and endangering others is the way to handle frustrations.

    • Rick Day says:

      Republican Lady:

      How does one responsibly use a substance that is against the law to possess in the first place

      Easy, they simply use it RESPONSIBLY. What does this mean? They don’t do it around kids, they don’t sell, they don’t drive, they don’t do nothing but sit at home and have a hit. And then they enjoy the moment.

      There is about 50% of the population that thinks the drug war is dumb and a failure. They break the law because, it IS a bad law(it does not work and causes more harm than the substance itself). MLK responsibly broke laws he and millions of others thought were unjust. Gandhi, the saints and many others have quietly, or loudly rebelled against bad legislation. Would you have asked Dr. King how a responsible man and preacher like him would go off and ‘break the law’?

      If you think all use is abuse, then you must feel that the much harder and actually addictive substance alcohol causes the same thing. There is no such thing as responsible use of alcohol? If people can responsibly use alcohol, how can you not make the leap of logic regarding cannabis hemp?

      Let me give you a clue: the law, politicians and police don’t know dick about drug use. This is why they are outlawing ‘marijuana’ candy. When I want advice about law, I don’t go to doctors. When I want advice about various medicines, herbs and powders, I don’t go to cops.

      Children abuse inhalants at 5 times the rate of cannabis use, with devastating effects. I suggest if you want to save the children, you have your GOP buddies outlaw aerosol containers, instead of cannabis.

      on First responders: again, responsible users are not going to be high on the job to the point it impairs their ability. Some of the uptight cops I’ve dealt with could have used a joint, instead of their 5th scotch.

      There are always people who will abuse substances, no matter what the law is regarding the substance. The question is, does forcing a test that is accurate only 90% of the time on someone unemployed actually going to accomplish anything?

      I understand that folks like you have no practical experience with everyday responsible use of substances. I hope this dispels some myths and B.S. you have been spoon fed since Nancy “Just say No”.

      I’ll be glad to answer any question you may have about your spooky world of responsible cannabis users.

      Be well.

      • macho says:

        Part of the thing with the “drug war” is it get’s generalized along all drugs. Do I think there is much difference between doing a joint or a couple of shots of Jack, probably not. But do I think Crystal Meth should be on the shelves at Kroger, hell no.

      • Republican Lady says:

        Rick Day,

        Lets deal in facts.

        First, many abusers of anything make excuses justifying their behavior. If not, we would not have groups like AA, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.

        Second, you are assuming that responsible people use the examples you mentioned above. Look at the arrest statistics for the ones who felt they were being responsible but were arrested anyway.

        Third, where did you get your statistic that 50% of the population thinks the drug war is dumb?

        Fourth, yes Dr. King and others broke what they felt were unjust laws and they were arrested for their actions. Did their actions contribute to change? That is up to interpretation. There were laws on the books and legislation later passed addressing discrimination issues but it took time for society to change attitudes toward the law. For example, the 1954 Kansas case Brown v. Board of Education, a federal supreme court ruling (specifically by the Warren Court as I recall), was not fully implemented until the late sixties, early seventies.

        Fifth, some cardiologists recommend one to two glasses of red wine with at least one meal for those with high cholestrol or heart disease based on numerous studies done particularly in the United States and France.

        Sixth, the law, politicans, and police know a great deal about abuse, both legal and illegal because many deal with the effects caused by abusers on a daily basis.

        Seventh, because of random drug tests administered in the mid-nineties to first responders and police, many have lost their jobs. When agencies decided to implement the tests, memos were sent out offering free treatment to anyone wanting it because if they refused treatment and were caught, they faced immediate termination. Many chose to fight the odds and lost.

        Eighth, where did you get your statistic that drug tests are only 90% accurate?

        And FYI, I haven’t been spoon-fed by anyone.

        I have contributed over twenty-five years to the industry and have four college degrees studying political science, police, and law issues as well as teaching this field.

        What is your background other than being a drug user?

  8. Progressive Dem says:

    People receiving unemployment insurance were regular Joes a few months ago. They lost their jobs, probably because of the economy and for reasons beyond their control. The 10.8% unemployment rate has nothing to do with drug use. Now here comes along an idiot GOP idea to further humiliate a man or woman while he is down. Who is looking out for the little guy here? Go ahead and pass it GOP and show how out of touch you are with the American middle class.

    • Republican Lady says:

      I totally agree. Most people who lost jobs did not cause the loss, it was businesses downsizing in order to save their companies or to balance a budget or any of hundreds of other reasonsoutside the control of the jobless.

      You are right that the 10.8% unemployed is not an indicator of drug use and I personally believe that drug testing the unemployed when there are no jobs for them to apply for is a witch hunt and a waste of scarce resources.

      Although I have no stats to quote, I personally believe that drug use among the unemployed must be relatively small and those people will be caught by a government agent, i.e. police or as part of a job application testing so we need to leave it alone and focus on more severe problems like jobs, education, and stablizing the economy.

  9. griftdrift says:

    Putting aside all the insane Constitutional issues here, there is no way this thing is practical.

    Who administers the test? You have to be trained in the administration of these tests otherwise they aren’t valid.

    What will be the chain of custody? Where will the samples be stored? What will the appeal process be if someone fails? Also, if there is a failure, there will have to be a retest, so lather, rinse, repeat on all of the above.

    And that’s just the few I can think of off the top of my head. Not to mention the expense.

    Insane.

  10. rightofcenter says:

    Just give Republicans enough time, and they always seem to shoot themselves in the feet. This could be the most ridiculous proposed law I have seen in some time. Big Brother, where art thou? To the average voter, this makes it look like Republicans blame the unemployed for their predicament – a pretty big stretch in the current economic environment.

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