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State representative calls welfare drug testing "unfair" - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

State representative calls welfare drug testing "unfair"

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District 22 State Representative Joe Deshotel is speaking out against Governor Rick Perry and his support of drug testing for welfare and unemployment benefits applicants.
     
Perry held a press conference Monday urging state legislators to pass a bill that would require people applying for welfare benefits and unemployment to be screened for drugs.
     
In a press release sent out Wednesday morning, Deshotel called the bill morally and fiscally irresponsible. He says lawmakers are "picking on" welfare recipients.

Senate Bill 11 will be voted on in the upcoming Texas legislative session.  The measure has big support.

"This will help prevent tax dollars going into the pockets of drug abusers or drug dealers and instead ensure that this money goes to the people who truly need it," said Governor Perry Tuesday.

"I don't think that anyone should have to submit to any kind of intrusive test unless there's some kind of evidence that they are violating the law," Representative Deshotel said Wednesday.

He says it's not fair to drug test only one group of people receiving government money.

"Then you need to test everyone who gets who gets tax dollars, if that's your reason, well then test yourself , test your business colleagues who get government insured loans, test anybody who gets government dollars," he said.

We went to the Beaumont Health and Human Services office to see what people think.

"If they don't do drugs they shouldn't have a problem with doing a drug test because if you have money to buy drugs you should have money to buy food," one man told us.

One woman who disagreed said, "There are still good people that work full time, and still have to depend on the government for help, but they still do drugs."

What about Deshotel's suggestion of having elected officials submit to drug tests?

"It's up to us as the people, we elect them, to make sure that they are upholding that oath and doing everything that's morally correct," another woman told us.

Representative Deshotel says the bill is not cost effective either. He says between 2007 and 2010, Texas spent millions of dollars testing more than 51,000 student athletes for drugs, only 21 of which tested positive.

The bill will not reach the House floor for discussion until late February or early March.

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