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January 13, 2015

Proposed bill would seek mandatory drug tests for state candidates

Chester County representative: "Voters would be very interested in knowing"

State Rep. John Lawrence will reintroduce legislation soon to make drug testing mandatory for candidates seeking elected office in Pennsylvania.

Lawrence, a Chester County Republican, originally introduced House Bill 1991 in March 2014, but it didn't go anywhere. He is working on new language for the bill now.

According to PA Independent, the idea was sparked from an earlier proposal to require drug tests for prospective schoolteachers and workers. The Senate never passed that bill, but Lawrence told the website it's all about maintaining standards.

Lawrence said that since many private sectors perform drug testing, prospective lawmakers should be held to the same standards.

“I think that voters would be very interested in knowing,” Lawrence said.

The legislation could have mandated drug screenings for candidates seeking election to governor, lieutenant governor, state representative, state senator, elected row offices and judges on the Superior, Commonwealth and state Supreme Court.

House Bill 1991 called for requiring candidates to submit the results from a drug screening along with their candidate affidavit, petitions, and statement of financial interest to the Department of State during the filing period. It said nothing, however, about what would happen if candidates tested positive.

But Lawrence told PA Independent he’s considering language this time around to address that.

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