Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Missouri Senator Bill Stouffer Promotes Welfare Reform, Drug Tests for Recipients

(Editor's Note: Sen. Stouffer represents Lafayette County, MO in the state's senate and is a candidate for US Congress. His weekly column distributed this week is below.)

We hear a lot about people taking responsibility. In an age where government is monitored for the amount of money it spends, and on what, it is time to ensure all of us take responsibility. I believe those receiving help from the state should help themselves.

I have filed a bill that would require drug testing for those who apply for, and are on, temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) — formerly referred to as welfare. Senate Bill 607 states if a TANF applicant or recipient tests positive for drug use, he or she will be ineligible for the benefits for three years, when a second review would be held. If a parent is deemed ineligible for TANF, benefits for his or her child would not be affected. The program would be developed by the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Drug testing happens throughout the real world. Most employers use it. For instance, Wal-Mart drug tests people before hiring them. Over-the-road truck drivers are required to take drug tests at random. I take a drug test at least once a year in order to keep my commercial driver’s license. Athletes also have to take random drug tests. In this case, we are talking about people who either are on or want to be on public assistance. To me, this is a common sense issue. Why is it okay for somebody on public assistance to be abusing drugs? It should not be. Senate Bill 607 simply requires the same standards to be used for TANF as are applied to most every other aspect of our lives.

I realize there are some folks who think I am simply picking on a certain percentage of our population. This is not the case. Senate Bill 607 has a clear goal: to help some of the less fortunate in Missouri help themselves. Drug testing will move our welfare population toward a healthier and less costly lifestyle. As I stated earlier, funding for eligible children would continue. There is no need to punish them for something that is not their fault.

There are some other bills that are similar to this proposal. Whether or not the bills are combined into some sort of compromise remains to be seen. There is still much left to be done on this bill for passage out of committee, onto the Senate floor and eventually to the Missouri House. I truly believe, in this time of economic uncertainty, we have a duty and an obligation to the taxpayers of this state to show we are spending their money wisely. Letting folks get away with abusing drugs while they are receiving government money is not the best way to do things. I pray this issue gets the attention it deserves as we continue in this legislative session.

Senator Stouffer serves the counties of Carroll, Chariton, Cooper, Howard, Lafayette, Macon, Ray, Saline, and a part of Clay.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Rasmussen Poll: 75% of Americans are 'angry' at government.

Politico posted this story Monday, Feb. 8th by Andy Barr about this new Rasmussen poll:

"Three-quarters of the nation's voters are 'angry' at the federal government's policies, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey out Monday.

Of the 1,000 likely voters surveyed Feb. 5-6, 75 percent said they were either “very” or “somewhat” angry with the “current policies of the federal government.” Forty-five percent said they were “very” angry.

Only 19 percent said they were “not very” or “not at all” angry with the government, while 6 percent were not sure." Read more at

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nation's best political handicappers weigh in--"Can Republicans Win the Senate?"

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story by John Fund asking if Republicans can indeed win back the Senate. Are more Senate seats in play than first imagined?

"Three of the nation's best-known political handicappers -- Larry Sabato, Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg -- all agree that if the mid-term elections were held today, Republicans would likely pick up seven Senate seats: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

To capture a Senate majority, Republicans would also have to win Democratic seats in another three states. "Where do the other three seats come from?" asks Mr. Sabato..."