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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Drug Testing Public Officials

As you might imagine, my emails, phone calls and mail are, in general, rather entertaining. This press release, which just arrived, seems worth posting. It came from the state senate minority office, courtesy of Diane Kinderwater, who used to be Gov. Gary Johnson's press secretary:

Random Drug Testing of All Elected Officials Needed to Restore Confidence
Senator Komadina said officials, not taxpayers to pay for testing
Albuquerque--State Senator Steve Komadina (Sandoval-9) announced today he will introduce legislation that calls on all elected officials, including judges,  in the state of New Mexico to undergo annual, random drug testing.  "If government officials make the  laws, enforce the laws, we ourselves must uphold the laws. The public deserves to know whether we do indeed abide by our own laws." Senator Komadina said.  "Drug testing  will allow elected officials to prove they hold themselves to the same standards they hold members of the public."
Senator Komadina said public confidence in elected officials is eroding because of various scandals and said they make it look like all judges and elected officials are on drugs. "I want a chance to prove that I am clean,"  Senator Komadina said.  "Government has the responsibility to prove  that it is not being run by a bunch of druggies."
Senator Komadina's  legislation calls on all elected officials, from U.S. senators to governor to legislators to city counselors, to undergo random drug testing with the results submitted directly to the Secretary of State's Office for posting on its  website for the public to see.  "Notices of the drug testing will be sent out randomly throughout the year with officials being given 24 hours to comply," Senator Komadina said.  "The drug testing facility will send the results directly to the Secretary of State's Office."
Senator Komadina said he is calling for voluntary drug testing which can be extremely effective without growing state government and costing taxpayers more money.  "The elected officials will foot the bill for the drug testing and not the public.  I don't want to grow bureaucracy and have  a whole new drug testing office run by a whole new  drug czar.  By making it voluntary, and not mandatory,  there is less bureaucracy and officials can explain to their constituents  if they choose not to  undergo the testing.  It will then be up to the voters on election day  if they accept the explanation."  Senator Komadina said.
"We need to restore confidence and stop the mistrust."
Komadina's legislation will take the form of a joint  memorial which expresses the desire of both the Senate and the House.            ###