Madison-Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) voted in favor yesterday of three bills that modify Wisconsin’s unemployment and food assistance programs.  
Assembly Bills 191 and 192 require certain individuals receiving unemployment, or government job training benefits to be subject to drug tests if there is a reasonable suspicion of illegal drug abuse. If they test positive, they will then be offered substance abuse treatment at no cost. Persons testing positive a third time will lose their eligibility to receive assistance.
“I believe the common sense reforms we made today are based on protecting taxpayer dollars and on compassion,” Jagler said. “Unemployment benefits are there to bridge gaps in employment and help people get back on their feet. However, if a person has a drug problem, they will most likely have an employment problem as well. As long as they battle their addiction, the more likely they will stay on state programs rather than enjoying the dignity of earning a paycheck.”
The assembly also approved AB177, which would require individuals participating in the WI FoodShare program to spend no less than 67% of their benefits on nutritional food.  Beef, chicken, fish (excluding shellfish), vegetables, potatoes, dairy and cranberry products are foods that would count towards the nutritional guidelines. Foods eligible for purchase under the Woman, Infant, and Children program are also eligible for purchase for FoodShare participants.
“The goal of FoodShare should be a hand up, not a hand out,” Jagler said. “It’s not too much to ask that if the taxpayers are paying for this food, the majority it should have nutritional value. This bill will help weed out the abuse and misuse of the food stamp program and get us back to providing necessities.”
The state Assembly passed the three public benefit reform bills, which now go to the state senate for consideration.