Governor Scott Walker continues making the push for Wisconsin to become the first state to drug test food stamp recipients. This plan was approved by the Republican-dominated state legislature two years ago. After battling the Obama Administration on this topic, Walker is now looking to greenlight the program.
Florida’s similar program was blocked in 2014 by a federal appeals court. Walker tried to preemptively combat a similar fate by filing a federal lawsuit the following year seeking approval for the Wisconsin plan. The lawsuit was rejected because the Obama Administration hadn’t actually rebuked it yet.
During the transition, Governor Walker asked then President-elect Trump to clarify that drug testing in this matter is acceptable. The Trump Administration has yet to publicize a determination on the matter and it appears Walker is tired of waiting on the federal bureaucracy.
On Monday, the Wisconsin Governor approved a rule change on this matter and sent it to the state’s legislature for review. According to spokesman Tom Everson, Walker believes he has authority to implement the program.
From CBS News:
The Legislature has four months to review the rule and it could take a year after its approval before the testing would begin. Lawsuits by those who oppose the drug testing are expected once it’s implemented, assuming the federal government doesn’t step in and block it in the meantime.
Under the plan, childless FoodShare participants who fail a drug test would be eligible for state-funded rehabilitation treatment if they don’t have any other way to pay for it. FoodShare is Wisconsin’s name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The Walker administration estimated that a small fraction of the program’s applicants — 220, or 0.3 percent, of the 67,400 applicants a year — would actually test positive for drugs.
Liberals are likely to cry foul over this, accusing Scott Walker of starving people. But, it appears this program sets out to assist those who fail the drug test by helping to get them drug treatment. The budget Walker signed this year also seeks to drug test able-bodied, childless adults who apply for state Medicaid BadgerCare health benefits.
With the opiate crisis continually hitting new heights, Walker is searching for ways to combat that. This will once again likely make him the target of liberals.