State Representative Robert F. Hagan announced he will soon introduce legislation requiring drug and alcohol testing for statewide elected officials, legislators, and JobsOhio board members.
“The premise of this bill is pretty straight forward. You have individuals entrusted by the public to perform legal functions on behalf of the citizens who pay us with tax dollars,” said Rep. Hagan. “I don’t buy the assertion by Republican lawmakers that we need to test welfare recipients for drug and alcohol use, but that elected officials, who receive much more in annual tax dollar salary than those on public assistance, simply are exempt from any such testing.”
Rep. Hagan’s proposed legislation highlights the need for accountability and transparency in the way public officials are entrusted to govern while spending taxpayer dollars, or receiving them for pensions, healthcare, and salary.
“It is hypocritical to demand that the average Ohioan and working poor should be held to a higher standard than the political elite in this state. Substance abuse is substance abuse, and receiving tax dollars is receiving tax dollars. It shouldn’t matter who you are.”
The proposal would require drug testing of state legislators, Supreme Court justices, statewide elected officials, and JobsOhio board members. The bill will also provide that the testing be paid for by the public official, and that consequences be imposed for those found to possess un-prescribed pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, and/or alcohol in their body at the time of testing. Consequences for positive screenings include outright removal from public office- in the case of JobsOhio board members, and required treatment, possible impeachment, and the ability to recall all other elected officials who test positive.
Legislation similar to Rep. Hagan’s proposal has been enacted in Missouri.