(Columbus) – Should members of Ohio’s legislature be required to undergo drug testing?

State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) introduced Senate Bill 212 to require annual assessments of members of the General Assembly to determine whether legislators are abusing illegal substances.

“As elected representatives of Ohio’s citizens who participate in the crafting of policies that affect 11.5 million people, it is only appropriate that my colleagues and I be held to the highest of standards,” Sen. Turner said.

If the assessment finds reasonable suspicion that a legislator has a substance abuse problem, they will be required to submit to a drug test. If results are positive, legislators will be automatically enrolled in the state’s Employee Assistance Program for treatment and will not be eligible to receive legislative pay.

Upon completion of the treatment program and a negative drug test, a member could again begin receiving pay. A refusal to submit to the preliminary assessment or drug test will result in a forfeiture of salary.

“With this legislation, we can help ensure that members of the General Assembly are responsibly representing Ohio’s taxpayers, and get legislators the assistance they need if necessary,” said Sen. Turner.

The impetus for this legislation was the introduction of Senate Bill 182 in September, which would establish a pilot program for the drug testing of Ohio Works First recipients.

“As members of the General Assembly we have a great deal of responsibility. Elected officials should be held to same level of accountability as a single mother receiving help to get back on her feet,” said Senator Turner. “If we want to protect taxpayer investments, then what we ask of our citizens shouldn’t be different from what we ask from ourselves.”

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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel, all rights reserved. Photo by Ken Robinson/WTAM 1100.)