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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=26426
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 25, 2018 05:12 PM
From: Representative Ed Gainey
To: All House members
Subject: PA General Assembly Member Drug Testing
 

Colleagues, in order to provide and restore trust, accountability and transparency within the realm of the PA General Assembly’s elected officials, I will be introducing legislation that requires House and Senate Members to submit to random drug testing for controlled substances.

We must be willing to do ourselves what we ask of others. As a co-chairman of the PA HOPE Caucus, I believe it is critical to lead by example, standing with our constituents to end the stigma of the disease of addiction. We must be held at the same standard as those we serve.

This legislation requires that each member of the General Assembly to submit to controlled substance testing within 60 days following the member’s election or reelection. A random test will be done at least once during the calendar year and not more than once every 3 months. The Chief Clerks of the House and Senate will be responsible for the administration of the testing by a drug testing corporation or company they have chosen by a competitive bid process.

Testing results will be forwarded to the House and Senate Ethics Committees who will retain records and open investigations on Members who have failed a test or have refused or failed to submit to testing. Members will be afforded a way to challenge and/or explain testing results. Passage of a test will exempt a Member for payment of said test; failure of a test will require the Member to pay for said test.

Failure of the first test without a satisfactory explanation or challenge of the results will require a referral by the Ethics Committee to the State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP), or its successor, to determine whether the member should be evaluated for treatment options and could benefit from counseling, outpatient treatment or other substance abuse rehabilitation services. Unless otherwise covered by the member's health insurance plan, the member shall bear any expenses related to referral or treatment services.

Confidentiality shall apply to all information regarding testing, results, challenges, referrals and treatment services, reports and explanations. Certain exceptions to confidentiality are as follows:
  • The 2nd and subsequent refusal or failure to submit to controlled substance testing;
  • The 2nd and subsequent failed controlled substance testing results.

A penalty applies to anyone who violates that confidentiality provisions: misdemeanor with a maximum $1,000 fine or year maximum imprisonment.

Please consider co-sponsoring this important taxpayer protection and public accountability legislation.




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Introduced as HB2706