Thursday, March 13, 2008

Supreme Court struck down similar drug testing law

The Judiciary Committee today deferred until March 20th a Senate ethics bill that would require drug testing for elected officials prior to taking the oath of office and upon reasonable suspicion thereafter.

There were concerns from the ACLU that the law would be unconstitutional in its current form. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment or dissent, rejected an appeal of a ruling that found a Louisiana law requiring random drug testing unconstitutional.

From the New York Times:
Judge Eldon E. Fallon of United States District Court said the law violated the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure. He said the state failed to show a special need to test elected officials.
When asked what should be done with the bill, a representative testifying on behalf of the ACLU joked that he hoped to see it pass out so that he could collect attorney fees.

The bill would not violate constitutional law if drug testing was required with reasonable suspicion.

SB 945, in its total form, would also prohibit nepotism within the Legislature and state agencies from entering into contracts with a legislator for goods or services valued at $10,000 or more per year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is certainly gratifying that the State Senate rejected the Ethics Bill to which Rep. Tommy Waters attached his vendetta amendment. Sen. Lorraine Inouye deserves our appreciation for her part in undoing his reprehensible behavior. That's the good news. The bad news is that it is now apparent that this same Representative may have used his skills to get the entire Ethics Bill defeated without him having to vote against it. The original bill without the vendetta amendment would have prohibited nepotism by state and county executives, legislators, prosecutors, council members and other government board members. Ethics in government should still be a priority, but it doesn't seem so for Rep. Waters and his lawyer buddies.