Inspired by the latest bill submitted by Rep. Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho, this is the column that will run in tomorrow's Newton County News:
It seems like every time you turn around, another state representative or senator is proposing legislation requiring students to undergo random drug testing.
This year, a bill has been proposed which would require students who participate in sports to undergo random testing for steroids. And while I certainly understand that those who propose such bills (and school boards that have implemented random drug testing of students who participate in extracurricular activities) have the best of intentions, it still is a violation of the students’ privacy.
On Tuesday of this week, a bill of a similar nature was proposed by Rep. Kevin Wilson, R-Neosho. Wilson is not one of those elected officials who wants students to undergo more tests, no matter how expensive and invasive they may be. Wilson has another target in mind.
HB 2342 would require random drug testing of all Missouri senators and representatives. Each of the 34 senators and 163 representatives would have to be tested at least once every two years, according to the bill.
A portion of HB 2342 reads: “Refusal to submit to a drug test as authorized under this section is an admission that the member of the general assembly has taken a controlled substance without legal authorization. A member who refuses to submit to a drug test under this section shall be subject to any sanction authorized by law or rule of the respective house of the general assembly.
Wilson’s bill also requires drug testing for those who want to apply for temporary benefits for needy families. According to the bill, those who refuse to submit for the testing would not receive the benefits.
Perhaps if Rep. Wilson’s bill were changed to make the punishment of senators and representatives similar to that which is meted out to football and basketball players, it could improve the quality of the bills that pass through those houses each year.
For instance, if a senator fails a drug test, he or she has to sit out until the next legislative session. Or better yet, we can simply say, “You can’t play next year, and put someone else in the office.”
I still oppose drug testing for students, but Kevin Wilson may be onto something with this bill. How many times have we wondered, “What were those guys on,” when they’ve passed ridiculous bills?
Maybe now, we will find out.