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Gov. Scott Walker to require drug tests before giving food stamps
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com
For years, conservatives have called for drug tests of welfare users, but despite repeated studies proving otherwise, the movement has garnered the scorn of leftists who argue that it’s racist or unfair to require so much of welfare dependents. Now, one Republican leader isn’t waiting any longer to implement his plan.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced on Monday that he is moving ahead with his plan to drug test able-bodied food stamp applicants.
The federal government has “blocked or found [this move] unconstitutional when other states have tried,” according to Fox, meaning that, after nearly three years of battles, Wisconsin could become the first state to implement these drug tests.
In 2015, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled state legislature voted in favor of a policy that would require able-bodied individuals to take a drug test when applying for food stamps. The federal government cracked down on the initiative, claiming that it violated federal rules that prevented states from adding new eligibility criteria on food stamp recipients.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walker signed off on a rule change that now allows the state to institute drug screening for FoodShare applicants – the state’s version of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). He later returned it to the legislature for further review.
Gov. Walker said in a statement:
Employers have jobs available, but they need skilled workers who can pass a drug test. This rule change means people battling substance use disorders will be able to get the help they need to get healthy and get back into the workforce.
The plan comes with an annual $1 million pricetag.
If childless participants fail the drug test, they would be eligible for rehabilitation treatment offered by the state.
Taking Matters into His Own Hands
Soon after the 2016 election, Gov. Walker requested that then-president-elect Donald Trump and his administration permit the change in the food stamp program. While the Trump administration has yet to take any action of the sort, Walker took matters into his own hands.
The consensus among opponents of Walker’s initiative is that it’s a waste of taxpayer money. Since most welfare recipients reportedly do not use drugs, they argue that it would be unnecessary for states to instill such measures.
Additionally, critics argue that the Walker administration will not accomplish much. It was estimated in October that just 220 food stamp recipients in Wisconsin, or 0.3 percent of over 67,000 applicants, would test positive in the first year.
But many state governors feel the tests are worth it. In 2016, 12 governors — including Walker — sought permission from the federal government to drug test food stamp recipients.
And we can’t say we don’t agree: if it helps get troubled American citizens back on the right track, it’s worth every penny.
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