When reviewing the news from the past few days to decide what my Monday commentary would be, it ended up being a pretty easy decision to write about House Bill 200 (HB 200) which is currently making its way through the Montana State Legislature.
HB 200 would “Require drug screening & testing for temp assistance for needy families program.” It was introduced by Republican State Representative Randall Pinocci who is one of the “far-right” members of the state legislature.
The bill should be titled: Pee in a Cup Bill.
The bill passed the second reading 56-44, so it looks like it is well on the way to making it out of the Montana House and over to the Montana State Senate. The way I see it, the only way the bill will be derailed is if the Governor vetoes it.
Many people like the bill. I don’t. The Great Falls Tribune asked readers this question “Should welfare applicants be screened for drug use before receiving benefits?” 85% said “Yes” and 15% said “No.”
I actually read the bill several times and some parts made me giggle. You can read the whole bill HERE.
Here is the first interesting part:
An applicant for financial assistance shall complete as part of the application process a written questionnaire designed to accurately determine the likelihood of the applicant having a substance abuse disorder involving the misuse of a controlled substance.
Here is an example of what question #1 might ask: Do you take illegal drugs? Yes-No (Please circle the correct answer and please be honest).
Psst, the best answer is “No.”
Pinocci would probably like applicants to answer questions about their support of the Second Amendment, too.
If, for some reason, the applicant answers “Yes” or if they are caught taking illegal drugs when they are completing the questionnaire, then they move on to this part:
If the results of the written questionnaire indicate a reasonable likelihood that the applicant has a substance abuse disorder involving the misuse of a controlled substance, the applicant shall complete a drug test at the department’s expense as part of the eligibility determination process.
So then they get to pee in a cup – and the state government will pay for it. I could not find the section where it said that Rep. Randal Pinocci and those who support the bill would volunteer to supervise the test.
During my career in the military I was required to be tested for drugs. I always studied hard and I never failed a drug test. Since I worked around priority resources like nuclear weapons and carried a weapon, I had to be drug tested several times per year.
I got used to it – I could pee in a cup on demand with people watching me. As a supervisor, I had to watch the people I supervised pee in a cup.
The reason I listed my experience is to offer some Pro-Tips: If you have to pee in a cup, don’t overfill it. Also, as the person who oversees the test, you don’t have to hold the cup.
Speaking of testing, I would like to see the members of our state legislature be tested for illegal drugs at least twice (randomly) during the session. It would also be a good idea to do a breathalyzer test on the members several times per session. An IQ test might be a good move, too.
I hate to pee on Pinocci’s parade against those who are down on their luck, but HB 200 is a waste of time and money. It can’t be properly administered, and it ends up hurting the most vulnerable.
HB 200 does prove one thing: the circus and the clowns are alive and well in the Montana Legislature.
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