As the 2016 presidential elections are looming, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pushes for a more stringent criteria for beneficiaries of health care and food stamps, including the need for drug testing.
A bill that delineates the state budget for the coming year aims to change some of the important programs being implemented today. As part of the proposed bill, Walker included a requirement for BadgerCare Plus recipients to undergo drug testing. Those who test positive for drugs will be sent to treatment and job trainings for free. Details of this proposal have not been clarified by the governor, specifically on the extent to which the state budget can cover the testing.
In addition to the drug testing provision, recipients of the state’s welfare program — called Wisconsin Works or W-2 — will be enrolled for a maximum of four years, down from five in the current budget. “We know employers in Wisconsin have jobs available, but they don’t have enough qualified employees to fill those positions… With this budget, we are addressing some of the barriers keeping people from achieving true freedom and prosperity and the independence that comes with having a good job and doing it well,” said Walker in a news release. The drug testing proposal covers all applicants of BadgerCare and FoodShare programs, excluding children and the elderly.
The proposal isn’t met without opposition, as Senate minority leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) doesn’t agree that it’s for the best interest of the state. “This proposal is more about making headlines than finding real solutions. Rather than getting distracted by presidential posturing, we need to work together and find real solutions that will create jobs,” expressed Shilling. To date, no U.S. state has implemented drug testing for food stamps beneficiaries.