Republican Lawmaker Who Got Caught Driving Wasted Loves Drug-Testing Poor People

This article was originally published by The Influence, a news site that covers the full spectrum of human relationships with drugs. Follow The Influence on Facebook or Twitter.


On April 7, Georgia Rep. Tom Taylor was caught careening through a 45-mile-an-hour zone at 72 mph. In the car were four underaged exchange students, a water bottle that smelled like booze, and a gun: quite the party for 2:46 in the afternoon.

Taylor told the officer he’d had a glass of wine the night before and nothing to drink that day, but blew a .225 on a breathalyzer test—close to three times the legal limit, according to the police report.

This week, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that following his arrest, Taylor received at total of $20,000 from groups associated with the liquor industry, as well as from a handful of lawmakers. It’s not hard to see why. Taylor is a member of the House Regulated Industries Committee, which oversees liquor laws. In 2015, he voted to expand Sunday sale times for alcohol. 

But Taylor’s liberal attitude towards mind-altering substances does not stretch to the poorer people living in his state. In 2012 and 2014 Taylor voted for measures that would have forced welfare applicants to take a drug test before receiving government aid. The 2012 measure applied to people requesting TANF, or welfare benefits. The 2014 one would have forced people applying for food stamps to take a drug test if they raised “reasonable” suspicion of using drugs.

As the Influence has noted, drug-testing welfare and food stamp recipients is ludicrously ineffective: It basically blows a ton of state money on not catching large numbers of drug users. It’s seen as a) good political theater for Republicans who get to vilify the poor by implying they’re getting wasted on the taxpayers’ dime, and b) a way to discourage people from applying for aid.

Lawmakers who’ve opposed the legislation make the obvious point that recipients of far larger amounts of government money—like, say, politicians—do not have to undergo testing for irresponsible or problematic substance use.

h/t Raw Story

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.