Winter Weather Alerts
Weather Related Delays and Closings

Today 60, Testing and Your Phone’s Name

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Good Morning!
This is one of those mornings it’s great to be a part of this Today in Iowa Team. We had a great show thanks to the hard work of our Producer Lisa and some extra effort on Brooke’s part. We also had some great topics to discuss, The Today Show’s 60th Anniversary and and to top it all off, we had a little breaking news that Megan Reuther and our Phojournalist Trent handled with their usual hustle.
I hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did bringing it to you.

The News

Resident in six apartments woke up to someone banging on their door this morning warning of a fire. Thank goodness they did. The elderly woman in the apartment where the fire started got out with only minor injuries but what a terrible way to have the day start.

So an Iowa lawmaker wants to impose a random drug tests on anyone who gets State assistance in the form of subsidies or welfare. More than 200 people took the time to comment on our website and one thing is clear: There are a lot of people out there who support this. I can see why. A lot of you expressed that it seems unfair to be able to test workers who hold full time jobs and struggle to get by while people who take welfare are not subject to any kind of drug test.
It sure seems like it would be fair to test those people wouldn’t it? Well, as my Father-in-law is fond of saying, “life ‘ain’t fair”
In our system government you have a right to privacy. Some people would argue I am wrong here because privacy is not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. However, it’s hard to argue that a right to privacy does not live within the Fourth Amendment.
When you enter into an agreement with a private company, you are subject to their rules. That’s why businesses can test employees. When the state offers assistance, they can’t “search” someone without cause.
Think of it another way. If you go to the Library, if you use a park, Swim in one of Des Moines’ wading pools or if you drive on the interstate…you are taking public subsidy. You aren’t “paying” for it.  Should we ask anyone who uses the Library for a urine sample? Maybe the kids at story time can learn to pee in a least their parents can before they are allowed into the Library. The next time you take a road trip, a fleet of officers can pull you over, and force you to take a drug test. Is that reasonable?

Free societies often face difficult situations like this. It’s hard to be one of the people who funds the government with your tax dollars, and then have those tax dollars go to someone you perceive as not working very hard to better themselves. I’d argue that perception is false in a majority of the cases..I’d also argue this is the way our society has chosen to help people who’ve fallen on hard time. It is of benefit to all of us that anyone finding themselves in that situation had a hand-up to get themselves out of the situation.

Lastly, I think this is the wrong debate to have. I think the debate should be how to give people incentive to work, rather than being on public assistance. I’ve known a few people the last couple of years that would not take a job offered to them, because they would have made less money than they would have on public assistance. That’s backwards.
This is more complicated than a lot of us make it out to be. I’m sure I am missing some of the arguments for and against these tests. In the end I think it violates the Constitution…a standard like this would have to be applied across the board.
I appreciate everyone’s comments this morning and hope we can offer similar questions that spark good discussions like this in the future.

Today at 60
Boy it still looks good. Nice to see all of the old Today Show anchors back on the set. I am biased but I think Today is really an iconic piece of American TV. Happy Birthday Today!

My Phone’s Name
Our Web producer Tas told me about a way to find my cell phone’s Name. I’m sure you can find it on the Internet. She explained it to me, but I think I’d need a flow chart to explain to all of you. Anyway, my cell phone’s name is, Christopher Hanley.

Have a great day!


  • Bethany

    Welfare is a little different than taking your kids to story time at the libray. The people on welfare have fallen into hard times and need to find a way out. Will drugs help them out of their hard times? NO! I don't want to keep giving money to people who are just digging themselves deeper and deeper in a hole. Let's find a way to help them get off of drugs and into a steady job instead of just supporting their habits.

  • Curt Brown

    I think the problem some people have with certain welfare recipients is the things some buy with the money they don't get from the government.
    I've seen people use their welfare money or food stamps to buy groceries, then walk into the liquor store and stock up there with their own money.
    I'm not saying all do it, but it does happen and it is pretty infuriating.

  • lorriem

    Why do people assume that if you are on food stamps or public assistance than you must use drugs?

    Alot of people getting assistance ARE former taxpayers who have fallen on hard times because of a job layoff or workplace closing.

    As Pat mentions, where do you draw the line?

    Also, who is going to pay for these tests – the taxpayers!!!

    Many years ago I had to be on foodstamps for a short while (my children were young) and I can't imagine along with the embarrassment I already felt, having to be subjected to a drug test.

    There are bad apples in every bunch, but I find this all a little bit ridiculous.

  • J

    If Welfare were used as it was originally intended, to help people to get back on their feet, and not as a lifestyle, this wouldn't be necessary. It will pay for itself from the savings. I say TEST!

  • James

    First and foremost, I don't think the government should be in the business of welfare. This is the responsibility of the individual. We, as an individual, should be helping our “fellow man” when needed. If people would take on this ethical and moral responsibility it wouldn't need to fall to the government. A government which creates red tape, organizational hierarchy, etc. and requires additional money to staff and audit that specific function. It’s just not an efficient medium to help people.

    Secondly, if you insist on using the government to help people – you have to make a system people can trust in. And I don’t trust the current system. Assistance should be supplemental-not a replacement. Food assistance should be utilized for healthy choice items – fresh fruit/vegetables, lean meats (not hot dogs), non-sugar dairy (ie: milk, cheese, not ice-cream) – we don’t need people using food assistance programs, having a heart attack or becoming obese, and then going on Medicare/Medicaid. That doesn’t help anyone and it just leads to a vicious cycle of problems.

    Lastly, we need to educate people.

    You can look at drugs tests-not as a means to prevent people from getting assistance, but as a means to providing additional help.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.