The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee held a hearing yesterday on a bill that would require all applicants for public assistance to first pass a drug test.
House Bill 121, sponsored by Reps. Donald LeBrun (R-Nashua) and Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack), would even require applicants for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to front the money for the test.
Susan Bruce was on hand for the hearing and summed up the testimony:
No one offered a compelling rationale for why this testing is necessary, or what savings will result from it. It’s a bill guaranteed to create lawsuits and expense for the state, and one unlikely to go anywhere. That begs some questions: why do Representatives LeBrun and Notter have so little respect for their colleagues that they’d waste their time on a do-nothing bill? And why do they feel justified in thumbing their nose at NH taxpayers?
The bill is a re-write of a bill LeBrun sponsored in 2011 that failed to get through the O’Brien-led House with its 3-1 Republican majority. Bruce’s response to that version, posted on Blue Hampshire, was decidedly less restrained:
There would be no savings to the state for individuals determined ineligible as food stamps are a federal benefit administered by the state. This won’t save the state a dime. In fact, it will cost the state millions. This is just a bunch of affluent, arrogant, pissants who want to make the lives of low income folks even more miserable than they already are. These men are so evil that they’d use taxpayer dollars just to toy with poor people.
At least half of the sponsors of this bill are fathers. 100% of them are rotten bastards. See also: Sociopaths.
You may remember that analysis elicited a coordinated attack from the Right.
Kevin Smith, then executive director for Cornerstone Action, was shocked, shocked! “It goes beyond the pale of what any reasonable person should accept as appropriate” he shrieked. Smith demanded that progressives “denounce Blue Hampshire’s use of such inflammatory rhetoric.”
Then New Hampshire Republican Party Chair Jack Kimball was equally aghast. “To post an outrageous tirade filled with personal attacks and name calling to criticize legislation that most people in the state of New Hampshire view positively, is utterly ridiculous,” he wrote. “Susan Bruce owes an apology to the taxpayers of New Hampshire and the legislators who were maligned…”
In the intervening two years, Kevin Smith left Cornerstone, lobbied for the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage, and lost a GOP gubernatorial primary. Jack Kimball was ousted from his position as party chair and last seen railing against Agenda 21. And Republican lawmakers are still working “to make the lives of low income folks even more miserable than they already are.”