Drug Test Bill Gets Hearing In City Tonight

September 17, 1990

The Annapolis City Council's Rules Committee has scheduled a public hearing tonight on a bill that would require taxicab drivers to take drug tests.

The plan, proposed by Alderman Wayne C. Turner, R-Ward 6, and Transportation Director James Chase, would require anyone applying for a taxicab driver's permit or getting one renewed to take a drug test. Cab drivers who fail the test would have their permits suspended.

The proposal would also suspend permits for cab drivers and company owners charged or convicted of drug offenses. Those charged, but later found innocent, could have their permits reinstated.

The committee's chairman, Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, has asked City Attorney Jonathan Hodgson for an opinion on the constitutionality of the plan.

Stuart Comstock-Gay, director of the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, has questioned the constitutionality of the proposal.

A few owners of city cab companies have come out in favor of the plan, but have opposed a requirement that cab drivers pay for the tests.

Turner and Chase proposed the legislation after several cab drivers were found to be using drugs earlier this year. Because the city has no formal policy on substance abuse by cab drivers, the drivers were reinstated.

The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.

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