COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- If the state is going to drug test those on public assistance, why not drug test state lawmakers? State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) thinks lawmakers should be required to submit to drug testing to determine whether or not they are abusing illegal substances.
“As elected representatives of Ohio’s citizens who participate in the crafting of policies that affect 11.5 million people, it is only appropriate that my colleagues and I be held to the highest of standards,” Turner said.
Lawmakers would have to first fill out an assessment. If they are found to have a problem they would be required to take a drug test. If that test comes back positive they would be enrolled in the state's program for employees with drug issues and lose their legislative paycheck. The paycheck would only be restored after the program and a negative drug test.
“With this legislation, we can help ensure that members of the General Assembly are responsibly representing Ohio’s taxpayers, and get legislators the assistance they need if necessary,” said Turner.
Turner introduced the bill after another lawmaker, Sen. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster), proposed drug testing people on public assistance programs.
“As members of the General Assembly we have a great deal of responsibility. Elected officials should be held to same level of accountability as a single mother receiving help to get back on her feet,” said Turner. “If we want to protect taxpayer investments, then what we ask of our citizens shouldn’t be different from what we ask from ourselves.”
Schaffer says while not all people receiving state benefits are using them to support their drug habits, those who are have to be stopped and drug testing them is one way to do it. He's also okay with the idea of submitting to a drug test of his own.
"I don't see anything wrong with it and I think it's something we should do to step up," he said back in August.