Ramsey: Drug test welfare recipients, business owners - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ramsey: Drug test welfare recipients, business owners

A Tennessee lawmaker wants to require anyone getting government assistance to be tested for drugs. That includes anyone on welfare and employees of any business getting government money. A Tennessee lawmaker wants to require anyone getting government assistance to be tested for drugs. That includes anyone on welfare and employees of any business getting government money.

(WMC-TV) – A Tennessee lawmaker wants to require anyone getting government assistance to be tested for drugs. That includes anyone on welfare and employees of any business getting government money.

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he expects lawmakers will stand behind him in support of a strategic plan to require drug tests for Tennesseans who get government assistance or workers' compensation.

Ramsey is pushing forward with legislation to make sure that anyone who is getting any kind of government benefits is drug tested.

"I'm in favor of drug testing for people that are on any kind of benefits. Whether it's unemployment compensation, workers compensation or whatever it is, because I don't think that we need to be supporting that kind of lifestyle," said Ramsey, a Republican from Blountville.

But State Representative G.A. Hardaway said many of his constituents are upset about the bill which requires those who receive government welfare assistance to take and pass a drug test.

"With all the crazy legislation that we produced over the last couple years, I'm sure that some people would love for us to be drug tested," said the Memphis Democrat.

Ramsey said he also hopes to see the same for corporate executives whose businesses are awarded millions of dollars in state taxpayer cash as incentives to create jobs in Tennessee.

He agrees they too should be subjected to the same drug tests as the recipients of welfare and food stamps.

But Gov. Bill Haslam has said he's not sold on the concept of drug testing recipients on state assistance, largely because he's not sure of the costs and whether it's legal under federal law.

"I think we need to see what sort of federal leeway we have there and I haven't gotten that data back on what the Feds will let us do and who would implement that and how it would be implemented," he said.

Some lawmakers argue drug testing welfare recipients will only trigger a vicious cycle.

"You don't cure those types of addictions with threats and punishment," said Hardaway.

However, Ramsey believes the bill is the best way to protect taxpayer money

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