MNGOP Rep. Drazkowski blames liberal media after report rips apart his useless pet law
In Sunday's Star Tribune, reporter Chris Serres took a tough look at a law sponsored by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, that requires some welfare recipients to take random drug tests on pain of losing their benefits.
As Serres writes, the findings of his investigation indicate that the law, which was approved in 2012 by the then-Republican-controlled Senate, "could end up costing taxpayers far more than it saves, while inadvertently denying assistance to poor families simply because they are unable to comply with its complex paperwork."
The piece quotes Heidi Welsch, director of family support and assistance for Olmsted County, as saying, "I don't think anyone is under the illusion that this is about saving taxpayers money... This is punitive."
Serres cites data showing that less than 1 percent of participants in the state's largest welfare program have felony drug convictions, which is actually a smaller percentage than the state's adult population as a whole. In sum, it shows there's absolutely no good reason to believe drug abuse among welfare recipients is a problem requiring a legislative fix.
But on his Facebook page, Draz, who told the Strib he decided to push the testing requirement after hearing reports from Mazeppa (population 842) that some welfare-receiving residents were using their benefits to buy drugs, doesn't back down an inch.
Here's how he defended his law against liberal spin and the "government-media complex":
The spin placed upon this law by the government and compliant liberal media is astonishing. They didn't mention the abuse of the taxpayers' generosity by drug abusers, they didn't mention the young kids whose aid is intercepted by drug addicted adults and used for buying drugs, leaving the kids without food - and they are doing all they can to make it appear as if this is a money-losing proposition. The desire to make everyone dependent upon the government is clouding their original perception of right and wrong. Thankfully, the people of Minnesota understand - we need hard-working Minnesotans from every corner to stand up to the government-media complex and repudiate their agenda.
We challenge Draz to cite one specific case of welfare dollars being used to purchase drugs. Just one. And even if he can (color us skeptical), it should be kept in mind he'd still have a long way to go to demonstrate that drug abuse among welfare recipients is a serious problem warranting a legislative fix with negative consequences for innocent families -- especially as a "small government" Republican.
h/t -- Bluestem Prairie
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at email@example.com.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.