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
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .