HB 1483 – Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

HB 1483 which requires drug testing of TANF recipients has passed the Indiana House by a vote of 78 to 17.

Only 17 representatives voted against this measure despite the experience of other states showing that it’s a waste of money. Welfare recipients are no more likely to be drug abusers than the general population and may well be less likely. They must not have read John Cheese’s Cracked article “Four Things Politicians Will Never Understand About Poor People.” Number 2 is “Poor People Aren’t Rampant Drug Addicts.”

Drugs are a huge problem with the poor, and I most definitely don’t want to be handing my tax dollars to someone who’s just going to blow it on … well, blow.

That’s what all of these states thought, and some of them still think that. Then they did the testing and found out that, actually, the poor are pretty much as clean as the rest of us.

The Fiscal Impact statement estimates that this program will result in a net loss to Indiana of $1.1 million for the first year of operation.

But, hey, why worry about cost if it lets us hate on the poors a little bit?


  1. jharp says

    I did my part and called my representatives.

    I suggested testing everyone that gets a check from the govt. Governor Pence? He should be tested at least once a month. And Congress? Test them too.

    Police and fire. Test em.

    Farmers who get crop subsidies? Not until they are tested. Tax breaks for new businesses? Not until you pass a drug test.

  2. Carlito Brigante says

    This bill was coauthored by “my representative” Bob (signs on the yards, no signs of intelligence) Morris.

    Here is a copy of the email that I sent him:

    I see that you coauthored HB 1483 that will waste time, 1.1 million dollars and will be overturned as unconsitutional. But I digress.

    My question is whether the drug screen will test for the presence of Girl Scout Cookies in the urine of TANF recipients?

      • Carlito Brigante says

        We are quite a crew up here in Allen County. Sometimes you think you are in Hamilton county. Sometimes it seems more like Morgan county.

        Morris may get primaried next time. A chemistry professor from IPFW may take a run at him. The chemistry professor is from a prominent family and is a sharp guy. And he is a moderate Republican. He could take Morris down.

        Morris had a democratic challenger that had some success against him.

        Morris ran quite a campaign last fall. He gave no interivews, but had Girl Scout green signs in hundreds of yards.

        • Mary says

          I was somewhat shocked that he was successful in the 2012 election. And surprised that he wasn’t more of a target by his own party and them the Democrats. He’s probably a nice guy, though very much wrong about so much.

  3. Freedom says

    Utterly disappointing that the party claiming to be the vanguard of limited government and freedom is always at the lead of increasing government power and destroying freedom.

    • Carlito Brigante says


      The fundamentalist christians have banned Halloween. News Years party are a little unusual. The last one was 6003 AJRD. AJRD means After Jesus Rode Dinosaurs.

  4. Paul K. Ogden says

    Rep. Morris was absolutely right about the national Girl Scouts Association being a nutty bunch. He’s not right about this bill, however. It’s a thoroughly bad idea.

    • Amy says

      Didn’t he say that the Girl Scouts promotes homosexuality? I was a girl scout when I was a kid. I don’t actually remeber that lesson. Paul, I disagree with your assessment.

      • Stuart says

        Anyone who wants to know the real story behind that issue can find it in snopes.com. It seems that right wing legislators (state and Federal) are sitting ducks for some of those Internet scams, which they allow to seep into their public statements. Morris last year. Rand Paul in his questions to Mrs. Clinton more recently.

  5. Stephen F Smith says

    78 voted for this? That means some Democrats voted for it, too. I guess it’s not cost effective to support a Democrat in Indiana :: you still end up with a Republican.

  6. says

    The real drive behind this is not simply that the poor are rampant drug users, but also that the poor are poor because some divine force has deemed them to be of such despicable—think of Daffy Duck saying that word—moral qualities. They should be punished in any way imaginable. The requirements do not apply to those who receive government checks for other reasons. One need only look at our wild successes in Indianapolis to understand that subsidies to billionaires work—okay, for the billionaires. Jim Irsay and the NFL made out like bandits on the Super Bowl, for example. Wait, I need to correct that statement. It is simile. They were bandits when the City hosted the Super Bowl. The word “like” need not be used in that context.

  7. Johnny Doe says

    I disagree with poor people not being drug addicts. Most of the poor people I’ve known or dealt with seem to be addicted to tobacco and/or ethanol. Since those substances are legal and won’t be tested for, then this will be a waste of money. When most folks think drug use, they think illegal drug use. Florida tried this and the number of positive hits was very low, a complete waste of money.

    Another idea that might work is what I’m hearing TN is doing. Required people on welfare to make sure their kids keep a certain grade/GPA level while in school. That sounds better than drug testing, and much cheaper as well. The mom (because mostly it is just single moms, not dads) has already identified all the kids she needs assistance for, so all the welfare agencies have to do is request report cards for all those listed dependents. At least with a bill like this, it will require the mom to do something when it comes to the kid’s school. Instead of demanding something be done so the kids have something to do instead of shooting up Circle Centre Mall, they can be at home studying, making sure they maintain that 2.0/C- average.

    • Amy says

      So if little Johnny gets a C, then no more aid? “Sorry Johnny, you didn’t get a good enough grade, so no food for you! Try harder next time.”

      • Paddy says

        Of course Amy. Nothing motivates a young child, who likely isn’t performing well in school due to poverty caused hunger, like taking away food.

        The easiest answer is to continue the beatings until morale improves.


  8. Kilroy says

    Always amazed that plaintiff’s with zero income and massive medical expenses always seem to smoke at least a pack per day. Never figured out how that works.

    • jharp says

      ” Never figured out how that works.”

      Most likely because you weren’t born into poverty nor have you lived in poverty for a few decades.

      But I do appreciate you openly admitting your ignorance. It’s a start.

    • Manfred James says

      No doubt you expect those who live a life of shit and misery to just deal with it the best they can so the better off among you can get on with their lives.

  9. Bill Wilson says

    The “drug-test welfare recipients” thing is offensive on so many levels. So, if I’ve fallen on hard times and need the modest government assistance that my government now owns me? Can the government now search for contraband in my home as a condition to getting my TANF check? Can the government now ask if I’m buying contraceptives while getting unemployment–and if so goodbye check?

    This idea reeks of classic repression of the poor. We don’t drug test the heads of companies that seek local tax abatements. We don’t drug test the owners of sports franchises who seek government help in building new facilities.

    If it wasn’t really happening, this would be perfect fodder for a Mel Brooks movie.


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