POLITICS
04/23/2013 12:58 am ET | Updated Apr 23, 2013

Minnesota Welfare Drug Testing Debate Prompts House Members To Vote For Testing Themselves

As drug testing bills aimed at the poor and jobless have entered several state legislatures this year, one group of lawmakers decided Monday to extend the idea to themselves.

The Associated Press reports that the Minnesota House was immersed in a long-winding debate on how to finance the state's upcoming health and human services budget. Among the 87 amendments on the table was drug testing for welfare recipients, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune adds.

According to the AP, after a Republican made that proposal, one Democrat suggested House members be part of that process, moving for salary and benefits to be tied to successful completion of a drug test. GOP members did not balk at that bet, with a House majority voting to add both measures to the larger $7 billion bill that was passed, 70-64.

"Bring on the cup," state Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron) told the AP. "I have nothing to fear."

As of April 11, HuffPost reported that North Dakota, Wyoming, Maine, Washington, Virginia, New Hampshire, Kansas, Texas and Arkansas had all proposed various drug testing bills. Among the more successful efforts: Texas' state Senate passing legislation that called for welfare applicants to undergo screening, the AP reported. Arkansas' state Senate also moved forward a bill on April 8 that would institute drug testing for individuals seeking state unemployment benefits, Reuters reported.

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