VA Senate Rejects Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients
On Monday, the Virginia state Senate rejected a bill that would have required screening and possible testing for illicit drug use in order to qualify for state assistance.
In a party line vote of 20-19, the state Senate rejected the bill proposed by Senator Bill Carrico (R-Grayson) that would require those applying for public assistance to undergo a preliminary screening for drug use. Recipients suspected of drug use would then be required to take a drug test. If an individual tested positive, they would lose state benefits for a year unless they attended a rehabilitation program. Senator Larry Blevins (R) did not vote.
While supporters of the bill argued that the intent was to prevent taxpayer money from being used to sustain drug habits, opponents argued that it was an attack on low-income families based on stereotypes. Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) said "Drug tests for welfare recipients are demeaning...Why are poor people singled out for testing? Why not legislators?...Why is it assumed the poor and only the poor are using drugs?" In a press release, Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) said "These are unfair and punitive measures that single out struggling Virginians simply because they are poor. In fact, studies show that welfare recipients have a lower percentage of illegal drug use than the general population. As a taxpayer, I believe money should not be spent on a problem that does not exist."
Media Resources: Office of Senator Favola Press Release 2/5/2013; Washington Examiner 2/4/2013; Washington Post 2/4/2013
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .