FRANKFORT, KY (3/5/12) - Representative Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster (36th District) announced today that thanks to pressure from the public, the chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee has agreed to hear House Bill 26 at its meeting this Thursday. However, Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville informed Rep. Napier that the bill would be for discussion only, and a vote will not be taken on the bill.
“I am thankful for all the calls and e-mails of support I’ve received, and also those who contacted Rep. Burch and urged him to allow this bill to be heard,” said Rep. Napier. “However it saddens me that Rep. Burch is not listening to overwhelming calls by the public to allow my proposal to be voted upon. It is simply not right for the opinion of one person to hold up legislation that the public supports and that more than 60 legislators have signed on to sponsor.”
Rep. Napier’s proposal allows the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to set up a random drug testing program for individuals suspected of using drugs while receiving public assistance.
Rep. Napier adds there is no cost to his proposal because it would be left up to the social worker or agency to determine if there is probably cause to suspect someone receiving public assistance is using drugs, which would then allow them to investigate further which Napier believes answers any questions about the constitutionality of his proposal.
HB 26 also allows any children of a parent or guardian who test positive to continue receiving public assistance, and would also allow individuals who later test negative to be eligible for receiving public assistance again.
The House Health and Welfare Committee heard a similar proposal by Rep. Napier during the 2011 session, but just like this year Rep. Burch would not allow a vote on the proposal.
“This legislation is about saving lives and combating drug abuse in the Commonwealth, and it is imperative that we take action,” added Rep. Napier. “Twenty-six states have followed through and passed similar legislation, and it’s time that Kentucky join them.”
Information provided by Michael Goins
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