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Amendment Proposes Testing Lawmakers For Drugs, Not Alcohol

State legislators could be drug tested under an amendment passed Monday in the House.

Drugs

Photo: Troy Holdren (Flickr)

The amendment would test half of all lawmakers each year.

Rep. Jud McMillin’s (R-Brookville) amendment was authored after concerns that a previous amendment was unconstitutional. The first amendment simply required all legislators be tested for drugs and alcohol.

But McMillin’s new language randomly tests half the legislature each year. And it requires legislators consent to the tests, though lawmakers can have privileges revoked if they don’t.

And a record of their consent and the tests are all posted for the public to see. Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) says the possibility of false positives being posted to the public without explanation creates a problem.

“I really think this is opening a can of worms,” Austin says. “Some people are going to get hurt.”

But McMillin says his amendment strengthens the testing program.

“Do not tell me, with all due respect, that this piece of legislation is weaker when we are making ourselves available to the people who cast the votes for us to see exactly how we’re testing on this thing,” he says.

The amendment also got rid of alcohol testing, with McMillin saying he did not feel that was appropriate.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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