by Max Brantley
Meet Davy Carter. Freshman legislator from Cabot. Thanks to a reader, I'm notified of Rep. Carter's maiden bill filing.
It would require random testing for the presence of "illegal" drugs of ALL who receive services from the Department of Human Services. This presumably means foster children, the elderly, the infirm and mentally disabled, the whole sorry lot of them. If you want succor from the state of Arkansas, you must pee in a jar. If you can pee in a jar. If not, presumably samples would be drawn from catheter bags.
What happens when an "illegal" drug turns up? Young Mr. Carter doesn't say. Nor does he provide for the Rush Limbaughs of the world. Such as they can get high on legal drugs, albeit illegally obtained.
Worst Person in Arkansas -- Wanker of the Day -- STFU Award with Gold Cluster: Davy Carter. (Of course he voted against congratulating Barack Obama.)
Suggestion: IQ testing for all legislators. Minimum score of 60 required for service.
UPDATE: Rep. Carter gave me a call and tried to explain. On the jump.
UPDATE II: Thanks to a reader for informing me that Rep. Carter has a colleague wanker in the Senate, Denny Altes, who has filed a fleshier version of this idea. (And if Carter had good sense, he'd have referenced some of its provisions if he knew about them.) It's still mean stuff. People would be required to disclose their and their families' criminal records so that drug offenders could be barred from a wide range of government programs. A positive drug test would trigger mandatory treatment and failure to stay clean would earn you the boot. Lots of new government here. Lots of families harmed. Lots of past sins unforgiven. Compassionate Christian conservatism, not exactly.
I knew Carter's was a shell bill. And I'm still not clear exactly where he's heading, though I get Altes. He says it's a way to get the attention of DHS for further discussions on accountability for the billions the agency spends. He thinks, too, without being specific, that undeserving drug users are responsible for some of the costs, unfair in a time when money is needed for so many other things.
I don't like drug testing. There are no cash payments going to meth heads, I"m reasonably sure, and most aid programs support families not just the people with drug problems. Take benefits out and you harm them all. Carter insists he has no intention of depriving "deserving" children and families of benefits. I think it's unavoidable if you start throwing people off aid programs when drugs are detected, not to mention that drug users are clearly people in need of help. Altes would give them help, but a one-strike-you're-out type for a pathology notorious for slipups. Interesting that alcoholism isn't on his radar.
Carter sounds very earnest. I still think it's a dumb idea. You can have accountability discussions about DHS without scattershooting invasive legislation that targets the least among us. By all mean try to treat drug abuse. But make it a carrot, not a bludgeon.
I thought I'd catch him by saying, "What about drug testing legislators."
"Fine with me," he responded.