Adding insult to injury: the NC GOP's war on the unemployed continues
If they can't find a job, they must be on drugs:
Such a bill has yet to be introduced but Sen. Jim Davis, a Republican from Franklin, said that everyone he’s talked to about the idea has responded positively. “If you have to pass a drug test to get a job and you lose that job, then we think that drug testing should remain a component of getting unemployment compensation,” Davis said. Rep. Sarah Stevens, a Mount Airy Republican, emphasized that the bill isn’t finalized but said she is working on it with several other attorneys. “(Davis) talked about (drug testing for) unemployment benefits, for, one, those people who lost their job as a result of being drug tested, or, two, asking them to be drug tested under whatever circumstances would be constitutional,” Stevens said.
Davis might think he's covering his arse by asking for that second thing but, in reality, he's exposing his true intent. He (and many fellow Republicans) want to push the constitutional boundaries in their battle against those who would seek assistance from the government, which is exactly the opposite of what (we're told) Libertarian Conservatives want to see happen. And in this case, they're likely going a few steps over said boundary:
While senators on both sides of the issue are undoubtedly concerned with ridding our state of drugs, the “blanket” requirement has numerous legislators and civil rights activists up in arms, many declaring it to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Similar laws in Michigan and Florida mandating drug tests have been declared unconstitutional as unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment.
Defining what is “unreasonable” in the context of a Fourth Amendment violation often centers on whether there was the adequate level of suspicion for the search or seizure. The question from which tempers flare in the current debate: is the need for Work First assistance suspicion enough to warrant a drug test?
Critics of these laws often cite findings that indicate that welfare recipients are no more likely to abuse drugs than the rest of the population. The Florida District Court ordered a temporary injunction on the law under the same reasoning, noting that the State’s argument “rest[s] on the presumption of drug use” but that “there is nothing inherent to the condition of being impoverished that supports the conclusion that there is a ‘concrete danger’ that impoverished individuals are prone to drug use.”
Bolding mine. While the above analysis was crafted in relation to a recent piece of similar legislation, it's just as relevant in this case. And so is Davis' hypocrisy and otherism:
Republican Sen. Jim Davis claimed he didn't mind being tested, but said that he would vote against the amendment because it had no mechanism to reimburse him for the $100 test. He didn't seem overly concerned that welfare applicants -- who have far less money than Senator Davis -- will face the same problem.
"If you have money to buy drugs, you have money to buy food, you have money to support your family," Davis said before the Senate Judiciary Committe on Tuesday, reports Philip Smith at StoptheDrugWar.org. "You don't deserve public assistance." Sen. Davis claimed "non-drug users" would "gladly" pay for drug tests because they know they will be reimbursed.
"If they're already there because they need food stamps, where are they going to come up with that money?" Sen. Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange) reasonably asked. "They're scraping the bottom."
Davis and his vindictive pals will probably leave out the "pay for your own drug test" in this new attack on the unemployed, and act like they're making some kind of concession for doing so. But the (much) larger issue is the test itself, and what that says about Republicans' disdain for the Constitution. It's there to protect all of us, not just those who are gainfully employed.