(Page 2 of 2)
As a result of Walsh's lobbying efforts, eleven states—Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin—have now adopted such legislation, known as "zero tolerance per se" laws. At last spring's conference in Tampa, Walsh and his peers demanded Congress get into the act and pass legislation mandating all 50 states to enact models of his zero tolerance bill. Sure enough, federal politicians are champing at the bit to do just that.
Less than one month after the Tampa symposium, bi-partisan legislation was introduced in Congress granting police the power to drug test drivers and arrest anyone found to have "any detectable amount of a controlled substance ... present in the person's blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substance." Despite the proposal's purposefully misleading title, H.R. 3922: The Drug Impaired Driving Enforcement Act, did not, in fact, require motorists to be identifiably impaired or intoxicated to be criminally charged with the crime of "drugged driving." Rather, as in the workplace, subjects need only test positive for inert drug metabolites (which, in the case of marijuana, may linger in the urine for days or even weeks after smoking) to be found guilty. Only this time, violators won't be losing their jobs; they'll be going to jail.
Despite H.R. 3922's sweeping intent to criminalize otherwise non-criminal behavior (driving while sober), congressional representatives in the summer of 2004 added the measure to the transportation reauthorization bill and promptly rubber-stamped it through the House without so much as a single hearing. However, much to federal lawmakers' chagrin (and, no doubt, to the disappointment of many within the drug testing industry as well), the bill eventually died in conference committee.
That's not to say America's pee police won't be back for another round this year with new and even more expansive proposals. In Tampa, attendees contemplated plans to enact random roadside drug testing checkpoints, while DATIA's legislative agenda for 2005 focuses on expanding the prevalence of student drug screening. Like it or not, it's dangerously clear the drug testers will not rest until every American has submitted to their inspection, and with more and more politicians in their pockets, they just might succeed.