REP. MARY BENTLEY: Drug test bill questioned.

Will wonders never cease? The attorney general’s office has issued an official opinion that offers at least some comfort to those who believe in the U.S. Constitution.

Specifically, Rep. Mary Bentley of Perryville asked the office for an opinion on the constitutionality of her Act 323, which allows school boards to require drug testing of people applying for jobs and to do random drug testing of existing employees.

The summary of the response:


Opinion:  Is Act 323 constitutionally flawed or suspect in any fashion or manner?

Response: Act 323 of 2019 authorizes public school boards to implement a policy requiring pre-employment drug screening and/or random drug screening of current employees. As a general rule, an act of the General Assembly is presumed constitutional unless the judiciary rules otherwise. While my research leads me to conclude that Act 323 would be unlikely to prevail against a facial challenge under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, I must also say that no federal appellate court has conclusively answered the question whether school districts can require teachers and other school employees to submit to so-called “suspicionless” drug testing.

Here’s the full opinion from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office. Presumably she’d defend the law if it was challenged, as she’s done in defending other unconstitutional measures. It’s a rare General Assembly that doesn’t flout the U.S. or Arkansas Constitution or both with its work.

FYI, the Fourth Amendment says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Rutledge’s opinion also noted the protection offered in the Arkansas Constitution against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Another one for the ACLU.