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Witness 'Crazy,' Chairman Says : Plan to Force Drug Tests for Legislators Set Aside

August 27, 1986|Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — An attempt to force the 120 members of the state Legislature to submit to drug tests was thwarted today by an Assembly committee during a stormy hearing in which the enraged chairman screamed at a key witness, "You are crazy!"

The Labor and Employment Committee sent the measure, a resolution authored by Assemblywoman Marian W. LaFollette (R-Northridge), to what lawmakers call "interim study," a legislative limbo where bills become the subject of hearings while the Legislature is in recess.

LaFollette's bill would require lawmakers in both houses to take urine tests to determine whether they have used drugs. Those who test positive would be examined again to confirm the results, and those with verified positive tests would be asked to take drug counseling.

LaFollette said her resolution was "a symbolic act. . . . I'm not trying to correct any legislator's life style." She said that the Legislature serves as a role model for young people and that her resolution was prompted by reports of widespread drug use among the young.

"We may influence young people (with the resolution)," she said. "I don't think we'll influence any adults." She also said there is "no information that anybody in the Legislature uses drugs."

LaFollette's measure drew angry comments from Assemblyman Richard E. Floyd (D-Hawthorne), who said he does not drink alcohol or use other drugs. "I lead by my example, not by what my urine shows," Floyd said. "Any member of the Legislature using drugs should be exposed, arrested and thrown out."

Jerry Hagstrom, a Plumas County educator representing an anti-drug group for youths and a supporter of LaFollette's measure, said the public looks to the Legislature for leadership in submitting to drug tests.

But Floyd said: "You seem to think it's such a good idea for legislators to jump out and pee in a bottle. You are crazy . . . you are dangerous. . . ! I can't believe any person living in this state believes that."

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