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New Tennessee Drug Test Law For Welfare Recipients Goes Into Effect – Catches One.

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A new law that mandates all state welfare recipients be drug screened just went into effect. After one month, one user of illegal drugs has been caught. One.

Republican state Senator Stacey Campfield lost his primary election last night. The freshman, one-term senator best-known for sponsoring the failed “Don’t Say Gay” bill will leave the citizens of Tennessee with another, small, legacy: drug screening of all new state welfare recipients. To date, one month into the program, results can already be seen.

“Four people were turned down because they refused to participate in any part of the drug screening process,” the Tennessean reports. “Six other people willingly submitted to a drug test, and one tested positive.”

812 people in total applied. 808 were screened. The process includes an initial written questionnaire. Those who “fail” the three question test must submit to a physical drug test — presumably by providing urine — or give up any welfare benefits. 

Statistically, one out of 812 is a 0.00123152709 percent rate of “capture,” so to speak. And that is assuming the testing was accurate and did not deliver a false positive. Applying those results mathematically to 12 months, Tennessee might encounter 12 people who tested positive for illegal drug use.

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said the law is unconstitutional and the group intends to challenge it in court.

“We don’t test individuals who are seeking government support like farmers, veterans and students, so we have to take a step back and question why limited-income people are being targeted and have to submit to these intrusive searches,” Weinberg said.

The cost of the implementation is unknown. The physical drug tests cost $20-$35 each, which the state pays. Untold thousands of dollars to embarrass and demean thousands of Tennessee citizens in need of help with basics, like food, clothing, and shelter.

Think Progress last month noted that generally, these types of drug testing programs “come with a hefty price, despite the fact that lawmakers often defend them as saving money on welfare benefits.”

Utah spent more than $30,000 to catch those 12 users. Virginia lawmakers rejected a similar proposal after realizing it would cost $1.5 million to operate while saving just $229,000. Any savings from Florida’s program will be negligible after administrative costs and reimbursing the people who took $30 tests. 

 

Image by Steven Depolo via Flickr

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CRIME

Trumps Could ‘Turn on One Another’ as Investigations ‘Go Up the Food Chain’: MSNBC Analyst

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Former president Donald Trump and his family are facing “existential” threats from ongoing criminal investigations in New York and Georgia, according to MSNBC political analyst and Trump biographer Tim O’Brien.

“I think you’re going to start to see this vice squeeze in,” O’Brien said Saturday. “The Trumps will happily throw underlings under the bus as this gets hotter. I think the question is whether or not the family members will turn on one another as it goes up the food chain.”

“The Manhattan DA’s case has existential consequences to it,” O’Brien added. “Donald Trump and perhaps his children could end up in orange jumpsuits if that case goes the full route. That’s not going to be the case with (New York AG) Letitia James’ prosecution, that’s a civil case. I also think the Georgia case has an existential threat. Donald Trump acting like a 19th-century ward heeler, called up the secretary of state and said find me some votes, and there’s proof of that, there’s evidence.”

Watch the full interview below.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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'TRYING TO OUT-TRUMP TRUMP'

Ron DeSantis Pounded by WaPo Editorial Board for Latest Attempt to ‘Poison Democracy’

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In a scathing opinion piece on Saturday morning, the editorial board of the Washington Post trashed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for his plan to create an “election police squad” that board suggests will be used to disrupt elections and scare voters away.

According to the board, the DeSantis proposal reeks of Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn election results at the state level with them labeling the Florida Republican’s efforts a deliberate move to “poison democracy.”

Pointing out that DeSantis wants the Florida legislature to “pony up $6 million to hire 52 people for his election police squad — which, naturally, would be under the governor’s control and would investigate allegations of election crimes submitted by “government officials or any other persons,” the editors then warned, “If Mr. Trump had his way, government investigators would no doubt be impounding Dominion Voting Systems election machines and grilling election officials in Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania based on outlandish allegations about the 2020 vote. Whether Florida’s voting cops would field tips from partisans acting in bad faith or dupes who really believe that fraud is ubiquitous in U.S. elections, it is not hard to foresee them harassing election officials or voting rights groups who are simply trying to help people to vote.”

The editors added, “Mr. DeSantis’s proposal would be similar to an anti-voting law Texas lawmakers passed recently, which would threaten election workers with criminal penalties for transgressions as mild as proactively offering voters mail-in ballot applications. In both cases, the effect is to intimidate people into thinking twice about doing anything they fear state authorities might construe as illegal.”

They then concluded, “Mr. DeSantis, trying to rise from the former president’s shadow, looks as though he is trying to out-Trump Mr. Trump. Both seek to cater to a GOP base among whom fake allegations of fraud are not just believed, but considered a critical national crisis… Proposals such as Mr. DeSantis’s would only work to poison America’s democracy.”

You can read more here.

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'MARGINALLY'

‘Why Is That So Hard to Answer?’: GOP Candidate Squirms as CNN Host Forces Him to Admit Trump Lost

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A Republican congressional candidate from Alaska finally conceded that former president Donald Trump lost the 2020 election on Friday — but not until after being asked the question no fewer than four times by CNN host Alisyn Camerota.

Camerota was following up on a story about another candidate for Alaska’s only House seat, Greg Brelsford, who recently left the GOP to become an Independent, citing “attacks on democracy.”

On Friday, she interviewed GOP candidate Randy Purham.

“So you heard one of your opponents, who was saying that basically he’s tired of all the re-litigating of Donald Trump’s election loss,” Camerota told Purham. “Are you one of the Republicans he was speaking of who believes Donald Trump did not lose the 2020 presidential election?”

“I’m not going to say that he did not lose, but we realize there are some irregularities with the election,” Purham responded, before Camerota cut him off.

READ MORE: Typo-filled Trump voting machine order likely written by one of his ‘lunatic friends’: legal expert

“Just to be clear, do you think he lost?” the host said.

“Marginally,” Purham responded.

“But you believe that Donald Trump lost the election, and Joe Biden is the rightful president of the United States?”

“To a degree,” Purham said.

“Why is that so hard to answer?” Camerota asked.

“It’s not hard to answer,” Purham responded. “There’s a lot of issues that we’ve seen with the election, and we see how things are turning out right now with this administration, so —”

“But that’s different, Mr. Purham,” Camerota said, again cutting him off. “That’s different if you don’t like certain policies in the administration, it’s different than whether or not you can say definitively that Donald Trump lost and Joe Biden won.”

“I can, and I have,” Durham said, finally appearing to acknowledge Trump’s defeat.

Watch below.

 

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