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progressive-politics:

via I love it when I wake up in the morning and Barack Obama is President.
On Medicare, DeKalb County Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson said, ‘I don’t support any cuts to beneficiaries or benefits.’ He instead promoted a long-held Democratic priority of allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices to save money. Drug companies now negotiate prices with insurance companies.
From reporter Daniel Malloy’s story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:  Georgia Democrats warn against entitlement cuts in… | www.ajc.com

Ushered in amid promises that it would save taxpayers money and deter drug users, a Florida law requiring drug tests for people who seek welfare benefits resulted in no direct savings, snared few drug users and had no effect on the number of applications, according to recently released state data.

So, uh, why is Georgia enacting the same pointless, mean-spirited law? 

On April 15, 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Georgia law that required candidates to be tested for illegal drugs before they could run for public office. In “Chandler v. Miller”, the court ruled that the tests amounted to an unreasonable, unjustified search of a person’s body that is forbidden under the Fourth Amendment. “However well-meant, the candidate drug test Georgia has devised diminishes personal privacy for a symbol’s sake,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the 8-1 decision, joined by justices such as Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. On Monday — almost 15 years to the day from the Chandler decision — Gov. Nathan Deal signed another bill into law that is likely to meet the same fate, and for the same reason. The legislation in question — House Bill 861 — forces welfare applicants in Georgia to submit to a drug test in order to continue receiving state benefits.

A Florida law requiring people seeking welfare benfits to take a drug test has been blocked by a US federal court. The judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional and infringes a ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith deserves recognition for achieving something that many observers would have thought impossible. He found a way to make the War on Drugs an even greater public policy disaster.

Preliminary figures on a new Florida law requiring drug tests for welfare applicants show that they are less likely than other people to use drugs, not more. One famous Floridian suggests that it’s the people who came up with the law who should be submitting specimens. Columnist and best-selling author Carl Hiaasen offered to pay for drug testing for all 160 members of the Florida Legislature in what he called “a patriotic whiz-fest.”

A controversial law requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening has gone into effect in Florida.

Let’s hope that Florida will come to its senses soon. Gov. Rick Scott does not have the values I would associate with a leader. This bill is mean-spirited and further demeaning to people who are already hurting. As this story also points out, Scott co-founded a company that does drug screening.

Last year, more grow houses were seized in Florida than in any other state, despite a drop in overall numbers, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration said. Florida law enforcement agencies raided 818 houses; the next highest was California, with 791.

Monica Smith writes:

I consider it reprehensible for our agents of government to concern themselves with what individual persons inhale, ingest, inject or, for that matter, excrete from their own bodies. Also, I generally find the NPR program “This American Life” rather insipid, although on a long road trip, it’s better than religious talk radio. I mention that to explain why a story in this morning’s Georgia Times Union about a Glynn County Superior Court Judge, Amanda Williams, threatening to sue the producer of “This American Life” because she didn’t like the story, Very Tough Love, he did about a drug court she brooks no contradiction in running, caught my attention.