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Mitchell calls for mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients, lawmakers

Posted: Tuesday, Jan 29th, 2013

DECATUR — As part of his push for welfare reform in Illinois, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) wants welfare recipients as well as lawmakers to undergo mandatory drug testing.

Mitchell has filed legislation that would require substance abuse testing as a condition for filing nomination papers for the office of State Representative or State Senator. House Bill 174 would also require drug testing of welfare recipients. People who test positive for controlled substances would be ineligible to receive welfare benefits for one year.

“Welfare should more resemble work and not be a way of life,” Mitchell said. “People in the private sector often undergo random drug testing at work. People who receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits should also be required to undergo drug testing.”

Mitchell said that members of the Illinois General Assembly should be held to the same standard as welfare recipients, adding that what makes his legislation unique is the requirement that candidates for the General Assembly submit to drug testing as a condition of filing to run for office.

“If I’m asking people to undergo drug testing as a condition of receiving welfare benefits; we in the General Assembly should do it ourselves,” Mitchell said. “So part of my bill says that candidates for the General Assembly should be drug tested before their names are placed on the ballot.”

Mitchell said he was essentially asking for welfare reform.

“In the next few years, we could have 4 million people out of 13 million Illinoisans on some form of public assistance. We simply cannot afford to do nothing,” he said.

For the complete article see the 01-29-2013 issue.

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