The jokes almost write themselves when you think about a bill which would disqualify people who fail a drug test from running for the Illinois General Assembly.
It’s not that crackheads and heroin addicts are running for office, says the sponsor, State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth). He says he wants to hold senators and representatives to the same standard as people applying for public assistance under the TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program – people whom Mitchell also wants tested.
Mitchell knows a thing or two about substance abuse; earlier in his legislative career, in 2003, he pleaded guilty to DUI after registering a .186 blood alcohol level, more than twice the legal limit. He lost his driver’s license for ninety days. “That was not appropriate behavior, but I took responsibility, and moved on,” he says.
But, he says, that’s different from what’s in his bill. “Taking drugs – which I’ve never done – is illegal. I mean, you shouldn’t be doing that when you’re in the General Assembly.”
Mitchell’s bill is newly introduced; there is no indication of when – or whether – it could be assigned to a committee for debate.