Philly representative renewing push to drug test Pa. lawmakers

     Pennsylvania Rep. Angel Cruz would like state lawmakers to be subject to random, mandatory drug testing. For the third time, he's introduced a bill calling for the testing.(AP file photo)

    Pennsylvania Rep. Angel Cruz would like state lawmakers to be subject to random, mandatory drug testing. For the third time, he's introduced a bill calling for the testing.(AP file photo)

    A proposal currently in Pennsylvania’s House is looking to make lawmakers subject to random, mandatory drug tests.

    Its sponsor, Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia, said it’s a matter of fairness.

    This is Cruz’s third time sponsoring the drug test bill, but it’s never gotten farther than the House State Government Committee — where it now sits.

    He said it’s based on Puerto Rico’s legislative drug tests.

    Lawmakers would be tested within a few months of being elected, and they’d also be subject to random tests on designated days chosen by House and Senate leaders.

    Cruz’s reasoning for the bill is that private-sector employees — in Pennsylvania, and elsewhere — are often subject to drug tests. So, he said, why not hold lawmakers to the highest possible standard?

    “I think it’s a good idea because it gives respect to the people that we represent,” Cruz said. “Saying, hey if you’re going to go through this process, we should lead the example. I don’t see why not.”

    He also said lawmakers shouldn’t be above the laws they propose for their constituents. The Legislature frequently introduces bills that call for testing various constituents — particularly welfare recipients.

    So far those initiatives have never succeeded. However, a recent, Republican-led push on the national level to make it easier for states to drug test employees and people who receive state benefits could change the legislative landscape around the issue.

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