Politics

Gov. Scott Walker Takes Big Step Towards Drug Testing Wisconsin Welfare Recipients

| by Robert Fowler

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took another step closer towards implementing drug testing for welfare recipients. The presidential candidate, currently lagging behind in the race for the Republican nomination, is not backing down from one of his more controversial positions.

On Sept. 8, Walker approved of scope statements that will potentially add drug testing into Wisconsin entitlement reform, CBS Minnesota reports.

If the reform reaches the final stage of approval, able-bodied adults seeking welfare benefits in Wisconsin will have to undergo a drug test. Those who test positive for a narcotic will be offered rehabilitation. 

These entitle reform objectives had been submitted to Walker by the Wisconsin departments of Health Services, Workforce Development   and Children and Families. 

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“In speaking to employers across the state, I frequently hear there are jobs available in high-demand fields such as manufacturing, but they require their workers to be drug-free,” says Walker, reports CBS Minnesota. “Our 2015-17 Budget puts in place drug screening, testing, and treatment mechanisms that strengthen Wisconsin’s workforce, so individuals seeking public assistance benefits in work-based programs are better prepared and qualified to work. This entitlement reform will help more people move from government dependence to true independence.”

Walker’s proposed entitlement reforms have stirred controversy, with some accusing his policies of targeting racial minorities. Milwaukee Democrat Rep. Gwen Moore accused Walker’s drug-testing policy an act of “tightening the noose, literally, around African-Americans.”

Moore herself has received criticism for her likening Walker’s policies to lynching. While she has distanced herself from her comments, she refuses to apologize to the governor.

"Well, I can tell you that I guess my sister Brenda says it well — that everything that pops into your head doesn’t need to pop out of your mouth," Moore said, reports Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinal. "But having said that, I don’t see any reason to apologize to him (Walker). If anything, he should apologize, I think, for his deliberate efforts during his tenure as governor to increase the misery index among African-Americans.”

Walker’s bold step as governor arrives during a bad month for his presidential campaign. Arriving out of the gate to strong support in the spring, he is now polling at just 5 percent in New Hampshire, The Washington Post reports. 

Sources: CBS Minnesota, Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel,  The Washington Post / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr