MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - First a bill to mandate drug testing for people on welfare, now state lawmakers? Representative G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) wants to do just that.
He proposed two bills, HB2432 and HB2433, which would require anyone holding elected office in the state of Tennessee to be drug tested. The house bills went before a judiciary subcommittee on Wednesday, February 8, 2012, but is it a waste of your money? The majority of the people who spoke with ABC 24 News are happy with the new legislation but they're not too thrilled about paying for them.
"I would not want a judge sitting on the bench, trying to discern if someone is guilty or innocent and they're high or they're drunk," said a Memphian Gola Sagonige.
That won't happen if House Bill 2432 passes. It requires elected officials, including judges, to take a drug test. Representative Hardaway sponsored the measure. He says it's a response to Representative Bill Dunn's bill to drug test people on welfare. Hardaway says elected officials need to "lead by example" for the people who receive state money.
"It will allow us to set the example for those who are administered tests in order to qualify for state benefits,” Hardaway told abc24.com.
Taxpayers are thrilled about the idea.
"I think judges should be tested because just like everyday citizens, if we go to work or whatever we have to take a drug test as well. It should be a mandatory thing. It should already be in the law,” said Sagonige.
"If they do drug tests on people who are unemployed and on welfare then they should drug test lawmakers too because nobody is above the law,” said another Memphian, Curtis Hardy.
The drug tests can cost $40 to $100. The two house bills combined would cost taxpayers more than $300,000. Taxpayers weighed in about the costs.
"They use taxpayer money for everything else so they might as well make sure they have the right people in the right positions,” said Memphian Legiatty Spurlock.
"I don't know if I agree with the taxpayers paying for it,” said Sagonige.
"Definitely. I'd invest, everyone should invest in investigating judges and having them drug tested,” said another Memphian, Hemoc Degos.
Representative Hardaway pulled both bills off the house floor Wednesday. He says he's adding more details about how the drug program will work and lowering the cost. Hardaway says he will reintroduce them by the end of the month.