Philly representative renewing push to drug test Pa. lawmakers
A proposal currently in Pennsylvania's House is looking to make lawmakers subject to random, mandatory drug tests.
Its sponsor, Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia, said it's a matter of fairness.
This is Cruz's third time sponsoring the drug test bill, but it's never gotten farther than the House State Government Committee — where it now sits.
He said it's based on Puerto Rico's legislative drug tests.
Lawmakers would be tested within a few months of being elected, and they'd also be subject to random tests on designated days chosen by House and Senate leaders.
Cruz's reasoning for the bill is that private-sector employees — in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere — are often subject to drug tests. So, he said, why not hold lawmakers to the highest possible standard?
"I think it's a good idea because it gives respect to the people that we represent," Cruz said. "Saying, hey if you're going to go through this process, we should lead the example. I don't see why not."
He also said lawmakers shouldn't be above the laws they propose for their constituents. The Legislature frequently introduces bills that call for testing various constituents — particularly welfare recipients.
So far those initiatives have never succeeded. However, a recent, Republican-led push on the national level to make it easier for states to drug test employees and people who receive state benefits could change the legislative landscape around the issue.
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