Alaska Republican Party supports mandatory drug-testing for welfare applicants

The Alaska Republican Party wants to require drug testing for welfare recipients. That’s one of the new planks it added to the party platform at its convention in Fairbanks over the weekend.

The party wants drug screening for applicants, as well as random testing for recipients. The statement passed with overwhelming support.

Jeff Landfield, a state Senate candidate from south Anchorage, was a lonely voice against the drug screening plank, and even he says he understands the appeal.

“Because nobody wants somebody who’s a drug addict getting welfare,” Landfield said. “But the reality is I don’t think it’s very many people who are doing it. But the real problem is it costs so much money.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures says 15 states have passed laws on drug testing for people seeking public assistance. It’s not clear the laws save money, in part because testing catches few drug users, according to a 2011 federal report. Laws in Michigan and Florida that required universal testing of applicants were struck down in court.

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