Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Drug Test Congress and CEOs

States across the nation have been pursuing the testing of drugs for anyone who needs to rely on a government funded social service, such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), SNAP (food stamps), and unemployment benefits.

Just like the CEOs have been drug-testing us for jobs in the private sector, even when the work isn't considered hazardous on any level by OSHA standards.

But if these people aren't government workers who provide a service to the general population, and therefore pose no safety risks, wouldn't drug testing them be unconstitutional?

With the exception of a select number of companies who do business with the federal government and some state governments, employers are not required by law to create a drug-free workplace policy. However, creating these policies is becoming standard business practice.

Congress passed the Drug-Free Workplace Act requiring contractors to provide drug-free workplaces in order to be considered for a contract from a federal agency. This law applies only to companies and individuals who have received a federal contract worth twenty-five thousand dollars or more or who have received a grant in any amount.

Then Congress passed the Federal Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act requiring alcohol and controlled substance testing of all employees in safety-sensitive jobs in the aviation, motor carrier, railroad and mass transit industries.

These newly passed laws have the intentions to protect the public safety, and any professional who pursues a career in these types of fields have a duty to behave in a responsible manner.

Drug testing can identify individuals who put others in jeopardy and can prevent accidents. There are two fundamental rights to choose between when arguing for or against mandatory and random drug testing among certain safety-sensitive positions, such as transportation workers.

The first is the right to privacy and protection from unreasonable search and seizures by the government. This
right is detailed in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Mandatory drug testing involves collecting evidence against a person without proof that a crime has been committed. In fact, the purpose of the drug testing would be to prevent drug use, therefore, preventing the crime. Yet, the Fourth Amendment clearly states that government agents must show that a crime has been committed before subjecting the person to collect evidence against them.

This right is solely an individual’s right, and it does not take into consideration the circumstances in which an individual is responsible for the public safety through their judgment and competency.

The second is the right of the government to protect the health and safety of citizens when it can be shown to be more important than the right of individual privacy. The thought of an airplane pilot using cocaine just before takeoff is frightening to anyone. The pilot is not only responsible for his or her own life, but for the lives of the passengers, as well as the lives of those who are on the ground.

As humans on this planet, we should have the right to protect ourselves from potential irresponsible acts of others that would jeopardize our safety. And anyone that pursues a profession that is responsible for the safety of passengers should constantly have their competency scrutinized, and that includes drug testing as a proactive and preventative measure, not as a reaction to a catastrophe.

We, as a society, expect our right to privacy and also deserve our right to privacy. But we also expect and deserve the right to safety. For those individuals who pursue to serve the public in safety sensitive professions in which their judgment includes life and death decisions with other lives at stake, they forfeit their right to privacy and must subject themselves to mandatory drug testing. If anything, the testing can eliminate those with impaired judgment.

The general public has the right to secure their safety. There are so many variables in the equation of public safety, so the dangers that we have the means to control, we must control, in order to act as a responsible society.

But why drug test someone just because they rely on a government funded social service, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps, and unemployment benefits. How can they put the general public in danger?

Those, such as the lawmakers and those in Congress, can argue that it's because they receive government funds; but then, couldn't that also apply to any government contractor, or individual and corporation that received any government subsidy or grant? Lawmakers (and CEOs) also make decisions where their judgment includes life and death decisions with other lives at stake.

State lawmakers and members of Congress are also government workers and their salaries are paid for by the taxpayers, so shouldn't they all be drug tested as well?

Why have the weakest and the poorest people, those who suffer the most, be the only ones subjected to mandatory drug testing? That's class warfare.

Per capita, I suspect that far more members in congress, and a great many more CEOs, have broken more laws and have engaged in many more nefarious activities, than those in the general public...and especially the poor. (That's why they're still poor).

What's next? Should we drug test everyone first before they're eligible for congressional and other government pensions? Will we start periodically drug testing everyone who applies for, and currently receives, Social Security benefits?

So why should the lawmakers and our corporate leaders be able to have laws that exempts them? Why can they enjoy the constitutional protections of unreasonable search and seizures and nobody else can?

Is it because they're ABOVE THE LAW?


  1. Newt Gingrich Suggests Drug Testing For Any Kind Of Federal Aid

    "Unemployment compensation, food stamps, you name it."

  2. Georgia Democrat proposes drug testing for lawmakers - Democratic Georgia state Rep. Scott Holcomb has introduced legislation to the General Assembly that would require lawmakers to pass a drug test before taking office. The bill was filed last week in response to a proposal to drug test welfare applicants, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

  3. January 2012: New bill for drug testing in South Carolina

    Associated Press: "A Senate panel advanced bills Tuesday that would require people laid off in South Carolina to pass a drug test to receive unemployment benefits, then volunteer 16 hours weekly with a charity or public agency to keep receiving a check.

    Though the panel heard testimony that both proposals would likely conflict with federal law, its chairman, Sen. Kevin Bryant, said afterward that doesn't matter.

    "It's time to start pushing back," said Bryant, R-Anderson. "I can't base how I vote on a bill on what some activist or liberal judge is going to do."

    Some liberal judge is going to stop this sucker with an injunction...because of the Constitution.