Monday, March 9, 2009

Local Politicians to be Held to Higher Standards

Today WAYLA reports on local politics from Louisiana.

In a humorous bit of news last week, the Jefferson Parish Council unanimously approved a measure to have elected officials in the local government face drug tests.

The measure is meant to hold politicians - including the Parish President - to the same standards as parish employees, who also undergo drug testing.

According to the Times-Picayune, the American Civil Liberties Union has already compared the new policy to an “illegal search warrant,” despite the lack of opposition.

Councilman Chris Roberts - who pitched the idea - claims to have no target in mind among the eight elected officials in parish government.

It is also unclear what penalties an elected official might incur if they fail a test.

Why make such legislation at all?

It does not appear that there is any sort of widespread drug problem among Louisiana’s elected officials. Even if there were, studies show that Americans are generally becoming more accepting of illicit drug use - especially marijuana.

But socially-conservative politicians in states like Louisiana may be trying to make a point about civil liberties. The idea that your privacy is only important when you have something to hide is the idea that won last week in Jefferson Parish.

And Roberts said he had heard from state lawmakers that there could be legislation in Baton Rouge soon to make his policy change a state law.

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