By: Kate Pabich
Should Illinoisans who get public aid be required to pass drug tests? That's the question a new bill is raising in the state house and the proposal is stirring up some controversy.
The bill says anyone applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), would need a clean drug screening before getting any benefits.
Raelene Krachum is one of many Illinoisians who need a little help getting by and she says she's all for getting tested.
"I think it's a good idea because people like myself really need assistance and we get pushed aside for people who don't necessarily need it all the time."
She says it would keep taxpayer money out of the hands of drug users. But others on public aid don't agree.
One woman we talked to, who didn't want to be shown on camera, says it's offensive and stereotypical to require drug tests.
"I don't think it's fair because they're judging low income people."
A section in the bill says the cost of the drug test would fall on the individual.
When calling around, the average price here in the Quad Cities is about $45. So, while Raelene agrees that drug testing is a good idea, she doesn't think the burden should fall on her.
"I don't have the means to pay for anything. I'd have to borrow money and if I couldn't get the money what, they would just kick me out? Don't make it everybody's responsibility to take a drug test because we have to live like this, sometimes it's not our fault."
This bill is not a done deal, if you feel strongly for or against it, contact your local representative.