Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, is sponsoring legislation (A.10082) to help crack down on substance abuse by authorizing local social services to conduct random drug tests of individuals receiving public assistance. Ceretto noted that, under his bill, people who tested positive would still receive welfare benefits as long as they enrolled in a drug- or alcohol-rehabilitation program.
"By helping to combat substance abuse, my legislation will strengthen our communities and better protect the most vulnerable in our society, our children, while cracking down on wasteful government spending," Ceretto said. "In these difficult economic times for all families, those receiving taxpayer funding need to play by the rules, too. Hard-working taxpayers should not be forced to fund other people's drug and alcohol addictions."
Ceretto noted that, under current law, it is difficult for social services districts to adequately identify those who use or abuse drugs and alcohol. As a result, many recipients fail to receive the drug and alcohol treatment that would be so helpful to them and their families in addressing these issues.
"This bill is not about stripping welfare benefits; it's about providing people with the help they need, while also protecting taxpayers from individuals looking to abuse the system," Ceretto said.
The legislation, which is sponsored by Senator Young in the Senate, is currently awaiting action in the Assembly's Social Services Committee.