New bill would require state lawmakers to pass annual drug test

By Marc Kovac | R-C Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- State lawmakers would be required to pass annual drug tests, under legislation being considered at the Ohio Senate.

Sen. Nina Turner, a Democrat from Cleveland, offered sponsor testimony Thursday on SB 267, saying the proposed law changes "would guarantee the moral fiber of state legislators by requiring them to be drug free."

She added, "In the past, we have seen elected officials brought down by the evils of substance abuse. Why should we not assume this disturbing trend will continue in a population so transient as members of the general assembly? The only solution is to preemptively identify all state legislators as potential abusers and front the cost for drug testing to all 132 of us."

The bill would require annual drug tests, plus additional random tests, for all senators and representatives.

Those refusing to submit to the tests or caught with drugs in their system would be blocked from serving as committee chairs or receiving lawmaker pay until the illegal substances are no longer present. They would also have to undergo substance abuse counseling.

The legislation was offered in response to policies implemented in other states and discussed in Ohio requiring drug testing of citizens receiving welfare assistance.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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