Another Supporter of Drug Testing for Legislators

In his weekly column, Robert Houk critiques Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s call for drug testing of those receiving government-related benefits.
Tennessee’s lieutenant governor believes it’s time to get tough on those collecting a government check (not to mention such rhetoric energizes the GOP base in an election year). Ramsey recently told the Nashville Chamber of Commerce (does he ever speak to any group other than a business-related concern?) it is time for lawmakers to protect tax dollars from those on the state dole.
“Folks, we don’t need to give any support to that lifestyle,” the Associated Press reported Ramsey as telling the chamber group.
Lifestyle? I would understand what he meant by “lifestyle” if he was talking about the lifestyle of power and privilege flaunted on Capitol Hill whenever lobbyists for big business line up outside the doors of legislative leaders and ask for special treatment from state government.
Nope, Ramsey is talking about a proud middle-aged man who is collecting workers’ comp after being injured on the job. He is talking about a single mom on TennCare trying desperately to hold her family together.
If Ramsey had his way, both these people would be forced to submit to what the courts have called an unconstitutional search, not to mention a humiliating invasion of their personal privacy.
But then again that’s the Ron Ramsey we’ve gotten to know as lieutenant governor. Let’s scapegoat the poor and unemployed. Remember, Ramsey is also the guy who said back in November that collecting unemployment benefits could become “a lifestyle” for some Tennesseans.
And so can collecting a fat state pension.
If Ramsey and others are so dead-set on passing this bill, I hope they will add an amendment requiring all current members of the General Assembly, as well as retired legislators who are currently collecting a pension check, to submit to regular drug tests. They shouldn’t mind, unless they have something to hide.

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