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Author Topic: It's about damn time!  (Read 4555 times)

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Offline fish

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It's about damn time!
« on: March 26, 2009, 03:38:27 PM »

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States consider drug tests for welfare recipients
 
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Want government assistance? Just say no to drugs.  Lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients of food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare to submit to random drug testing.  The effort comes as more Americans turn to these safety nets to ride out the recession. Poverty and civil liberties advocates fear the strategy could backfire, discouraging some people from seeking financial aid and making already desperate situations worse.  Those in favor of the drug tests say they are motivated out of a concern for their constituents' health and ability to put themselves on more solid financial footing once the economy rebounds. But proponents concede they also want to send a message: you don't get something for nothing. Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs," said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Viginia Legislature who has created a Web site - notwithmytaxdollars.com - that bears a bobble-headed likeness of himself advocating this position. "If so many jobs require random drug tests these days, why not these benefits?"
Blair is proposing the most comprehensive measure in the country, as it would apply to anyone applying for food stamps, unemployment compensation or the federal programs usually known as "welfare": Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Women, Infants and Children.  Lawmakers in other states are offering similar, but more modest proposals.  On Wednesday, the Kansas House of Representatives approved a measure mandating drug testing for the 14,000 or so people getting cash assistance from the state, which now goes before the state senate. In February, the Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a measure that would require drug testing as a condition of receiving TANF benefits, and similar bills have been introduced in Missouri and Hawaii. A Florida senator has proposed a bill linking unemployment compensation to drug testing, and a member of Minnesota's House of Representatives has a bill requiring drug tests of people who get public assistance under a state program there.  A January attempt in the Arizona Senate to establish such a law failed.
In the past, such efforts have been stymied by legal and cost concerns, said Christine Nelson, a program manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures. But states' bigger fiscal crises, and the surging demand for public assistance, could change that.
"It's an example of where you could cut costs at the expense of a segment of society that's least able to defend themselves," said Frank Crabtree, executive director of the West Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.  Drug testing is not the only restriction envisioned for people receiving public assistance: a bill in the Tennessee Legislature would cap lottery winnings for recipients at $600.  There seems to be no coordinated move around the country to push these bills, and similar proposals have arisen periodically since federal welfare reform in the 1990s. But the appearance of a cluster of such proposals in the midst of the recession shows lawmakers are newly engaged about who is getting public assistance.  Particularly troubling to some policy analysts is the drive to drug test people collecting unemployment insurance, whose numbers nationwide now exceed 5.4 million, the highest total on records dating back to 1967.  "It doesn't seem like the kind of thing to bring up during a recession," said Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "People who are unemployed, who have lost their job, that's a sympathetic group. Americans are tuned into that, because they're worried they'll be next."  Indeed, these proposals are coming at a time when more Americans find themselves in need of public assistance.  Although the number of TANF recipients has stayed relatively stable at 3.8 million in the last year, claims for unemployment benefits and food stamps have soared.  In December, more than 31.7 million Americans were receiving food stamp benefits, compared with 27.5 million the year before.  The link between public assistance and drug testing stems from the Congressional overhaul of welfare in the 1990s, which allowed states to implement drug testing as a condition of receiving help.  But a federal court struck down a Michigan law that would have allowed for "random, suspicionless" testing, saying it violated the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure, said Liz Schott, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  At least six states - Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Virginia - tie eligibility for some public assistance to drug testing for convicted felons or parolees, according to the NCSL.  Nelson said programs that screen welfare applicants by assigning them to case workers for interviews have shown some success without the need for drug tests. These alternative measures offer treatment, but can also threaten future benefits if drug problems persist, she said.  They also cost less than the $400 or so needed for tests that can catch a sufficient range of illegal drugs, and rule out false positive results with a follow-up test, she said.
 
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20090326/D975MFE80.html

Offline David Day

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 03:54:54 PM »
We have a bill in MO that does something close to this, I am a co-sponsor.  Just have to see how far we can get it.

Dave
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Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 04:03:50 PM »
It shouldn't be random testing, it should be 100% mandatory for everyone that receives assistance of any kind from the Government.

welfare
food stamps
HUD
Medicaid
student loans
gov insured loans

and many more.

Offline kari

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 04:44:21 PM »
Those on public assistance should be required to be screened for drugs.  Too many times, people on public assistance "sell" their benefits, for drugs, then go to the area Churches and food banks for food.  I believe many thought switching from the old food stamps, to the credit card type would eliminate that problem, but I believe it still happens.  Add to this cash assistance, and it seems the tax payer is actually buying drugs for those addicted.  What is so very sad is, there are many that are in genuine need of assistance, but due to others who take advantage of the system, funding becomes over taxed. 

The system itself needs to be overhauled.  Public assistance was meant to give those in need a helping hand, not to enable someone to feed their addiction, nor to enable them to do nothing to add to society.  We are seeing generations that have lived off public assistance, with no interest in adding to society. 

There are unscrupulous people in the medical profession that will list a person as "disabled", so that the "patient" may be entitled to public assistance, then prescribe "medications", that they just happen to have at the office.  Between office visits, visits to "specialists" (medical "professionals" that are friends or family members of the original Doctor), and medications, it becomes a lucrative business.  Greed, nothing more, and it's not only at the expense of the taxpayer, those that are in genuine need, but also at the expense of our society as a whole.

Ok, guess I've ranted on enough!


Proud to have served, US Army, WAC

Offline What_The?

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 05:02:05 PM »
Include all government aid, including farm subsidies, WIC, college tuition assistance (including military), retired military, taxpayer assistance (including all those CEO's) and bailout money, and every government employee, including elected officials whose pay is directly from taxpayers.

If its a matter of controlling waste, lets not single out one group, but instead apply these grand beliefs to everyone who receives taxpayer money.

"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side." - Kurt Vonnegut

Offline molly

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 05:03:47 PM »
public schools?     

Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2009, 05:10:15 PM »
wow, I am in complete agreement with you on this one.

I will point out that the military recieving tuition assistance are already tested, assuming the military still has the same requirements as when I was active duty.

Also, the elected officials is a very good ideal, many of those people have to high on something!!  Normal people just don't think like that. (not directed at David Day)

 
Include all government aid, including farm subsidies, WIC, college tuition assistance (including military), retired military, taxpayer assistance (including all those CEO's) and bailout money, and every government employee, including elected officials whose pay is directly from taxpayers.

If its a matter of controlling waste, lets not single out one group, but instead apply these grand beliefs to everyone who receives taxpayer money.

Offline David Day

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 11:44:09 PM »
Some of the difference is....many of those you are naming go to work to get their check, others just go to the mailbox.  There is a difference between those that work and those that don't receiving tax dollars from others that work and pay those taxes.
 
BTW...this polls highest with people on assistance and not doing drugs.  They are the most sick and tired of people scamming the system, that is aid those that really need it could be getting.  They are the ones that do the most reporting, so they don't seem to mind being singled out.

Test me all you want, I don't care.
Dave
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Offline fish

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2009, 12:22:14 AM »
it would be interesting for the members of congress to be tested. (I think you would be ok Dave).

military has had random drug testing longer than you have been around winston. civil service is also subject to it. ask a trucker with a cdl how much alcohol can be in his system 12 hours before driving. there are many groups already subject to drug testing,except those on welfare it seems.

Offline Janice

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2009, 12:26:07 AM »
If the people who are needing the help are really needing it- then they should have no problem with it. I am disabled and at 1 time was one of them until my SSDI kicked in. There are alot of people who scam the system (have known a few) and those will be the ones who make the most noise on this issue. I say If they need the help, they will do whatever it takes to get it and that would include being drug tested.

Offline David Day

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2009, 12:32:04 AM »
Janice just said what I am hearing, the people that truly need it...have no problem with it.  Those abusing the system, of course they don't want it.

Thanks,

Dave
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Offline kari

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2009, 12:33:50 AM »
If the people who are needing the help are really needing it- then they should have no problem with it. I am disabled and at 1 time was one of them until my SSDI kicked in. There are alot of people who scam the system (have known a few) and those will be the ones who make the most noise on this issue. I say If they need the help, they will do whatever it takes to get it and that would include being drug tested.
***(**& Agreed!
Proud to have served, US Army, WAC

Offline mark

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2009, 12:31:01 PM »
Include all government aid, including farm subsidies, WIC, college tuition assistance (including military), retired military, taxpayer assistance (including all those CEO's) and bailout money, and every government employee, including elected officials whose pay is directly from taxpayers.

If its a matter of controlling waste, lets not single out one group, but instead apply these grand beliefs to everyone who receives taxpayer money.


I agree What The. Although your religious views are like opposite of mine. I generally agree with your political views. How you can be right on on one subject and in outer space on another is beyond me. But keep the political stuff coming ,I like it!
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
~Teilhard de Chardin

Offline matrsnot

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2009, 01:19:03 PM »
Retired Military are not welfare recipients.  The rest I can concur with you on.

Offline freethinker

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2009, 01:52:57 PM »
it would be interesting for the members of congress to be tested. (I think you would be ok Dave).

military has had random drug testing longer than you have been around winston. civil service is also subject to it. ask a trucker with a cdl how much alcohol can be in his system 12 hours before driving. there are many groups already subject to drug testing,except those on welfare it seems.

i'll bite. how much alcohol can be in a truckers system 12hr prior to driving?  who tests them by the way?
 
 
 
 
 
 
i would imagine it is no more then whatever ammount will be down to .04% in 12 hours...  so...
 
 
 

Offline kari

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2009, 02:03:34 PM »

i'll bite. how much alcohol can be in a truckers system 12hr prior to driving?  who tests them by the way?
 
 
 
 
 
 
i would imagine it is no more then whatever ammount will be down to .04% in 12 hours...  so...
 
 
 
.02, if memory serves me, hence, Satuday night was the only night I could "party" when I drove (worked 6/12's), though I never was subjected to testing... Yes, women drive big rigs also.  A friend in Pa is a school bus driver and she's subject to the same.
Proud to have served, US Army, WAC

Offline Seeg

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2009, 06:00:26 PM »
Some of the difference is....many of those you are naming go to work to get their check, others just go to the mailbox.
Here's an idea...... what about all those on true welfare and unemployment (not disability) actually having to pick up their checks at a government office as opposed to getting their checks mailed to them.  Not only would the government save untold amounts on postage but I would bet some checks wouldn't even get picked up in a timely fashion (or at all).
"I love my country... it's just the government I fear!"

Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2009, 06:06:21 PM »
That reminds me of 30 years ago when i used to see people in big expensive caddys and lincolns pull up to the welfare office and get thier checks and food stamps each month.

Here's an idea...... what about all those on true welfare and unemployment (not disability) actually having to pick up their checks at a government office as opposed to getting their checks mailed to them.  Not only would the government save untold amounts on postage but I would bet some checks wouldn't even get picked up in a timely fashion (or at all).

Offline kari

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2009, 06:14:41 PM »
I thought some time ago, welfare recipients, other than Mother's with young children (I think under the age of 5), were suppose to work for their checks?  May be an idea for those who receive welfare to be required to do some community service?  Could be a good way to get some people interested in rejoining the workforce, and could help some of the organizations that may be lacking in volunteers.  Is it not better to help someone, help themselves, then to enable them to do nothing?  Just a thought.
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Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2009, 06:25:57 PM »
Now that is degrading to them, making them "volunteer" along side the criminals that are sentenced to community service is unacceptable.

sarcasm intended

I thought some time ago, welfare recipients, other than Mother's with young children (I think under the age of 5), were suppose to work for their checks?  May be an idea for those who receive welfare to be required to do some community service?  Could be a good way to get some people interested in rejoining the workforce, and could help some of the organizations that may be lacking in volunteers.  Is it not better to help someone, help themselves, then to enable them to do nothing?  Just a thought.

Offline David Day

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2009, 07:58:21 PM »
I understand the intent of having them pick up checks and don't totally disagree with it, however, if that were the case you would need a place if not in every town at least every county, along with personnel, to hand them out.  And, of course you would still have to mail the checks to that place.

But I do understand and appreciate your meaning.

Dave
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Offline SilverFox

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2009, 08:25:43 PM »
What_The you were on a roll there for a minute until you got to retired military, that is where you crossed the line. As a military retiree I am not living on government assisstance I earned every penny they pay me and more. Some time you start on a roll, and then you get the Biden disease. However, anytime you are willing to take a weapon and man the post, and if you do it successfully for twenty or more years you to can live off the government as you call it.

Offline Seeg

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2009, 08:39:29 PM »
I understand the intent of having them pick up checks and don't totally disagree with it, however, if that were the case you would need a place if not in every town at least every county, along with personnel, to hand them out.  And, of course you would still have to mail the checks to that place.

But I do understand and appreciate your meaning.

Dave

I should have been a bit more specific.  In today's electronic/wireless age I would think that the State could place the funds in each specific county's escrow account and then the county could print the checks as requested by the recipients.  The counties could even be reimbursed by the state for the checks, printing fees, etc if deemed necessary.  Then any checks that were not picked up or forfeited (due to an expiration on the pick up date - if you don't pick it up in a couple of weeks it's probably not that much of a need anyway) the county could then "profit" from these "unused" checks to offset any personnel costs they might incur. 

It would seem to be a win/win in that the state could lower their cost of printing, postage and their personnel while the counties would be sort of "betting on the come" with their potential profits on the unused portion.  Kind of a state wide county unemployment/welfare lottery!  LOL!

And then again, I might just be a total bonehead!

"I love my country... it's just the government I fear!"

Offline Seeg

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #23 on: March 27, 2009, 08:41:16 PM »
Some time you start on a roll, and then you get the Biden disease.

Now THAT'S funny!
 &^&&(
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Offline What_The?

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2009, 08:59:51 PM »
What_The you were on a roll there for a minute until you got to retired military, that is where you crossed the line. As a military retiree I am not living on government assisstance I earned every penny they pay me and more. Some time you start on a roll, and then you get the Biden disease. However, anytime you are willing to take a weapon and man the post, and if you do it successfully for twenty or more years you to can live off the government as you call it.

Ahh, see, that's where your own self-interest shines through.

What did any of those other people do to deserve to be treated any differently than you, except maybe hit a rough patch in life?
"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side." - Kurt Vonnegut

Offline David Day

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2009, 09:12:33 PM »
The ones that truly need it don't mind the testing from all that have talked to me, they are the ones I care about, not the ones abusing the program and using money that could be used for folks that need it.

Dave
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Offline What_The?

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2009, 09:21:19 PM »
The ones that truly need it don't mind the testing from all that have talked to me, they are the ones I care about, not the ones abusing the program and using money that could be used for folks that need it.

Dave

Who is footing the bill for all of this?

There are about what, 5.4 million currently getting government assistnace.

Now how much waste are we talking here, from the welfare cheats?

So the typical drug screening costs about $400, and typically there are two tests given so that false positives (which happen) can be checked.

So thats $4.32 BILLION dollars per test to get everyone.

And we're talking what, once a week?  A lot of drugs metabolize in a few days, so you'd have to be vigilant.

SO that is about $17 BILLION a month.

Or about a gajillion billion trillion zillion per year.

To prevent how much in waste/fraud?

A few million?

Someone else check my numbers, I am  horrible at math.

"There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God almighty Himself hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side." - Kurt Vonnegut

Offline David Day

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2009, 12:05:17 AM »
If I said somewhere once a week, wow I really mis-spoke Winston...I am very sorry.

I believe the term most used is "random", in a few areas that do this it is not done over twice a year per person and not done at all on folks with  disabilities.  If during one of the random tests they come up positive, then they are tested more often to either determine a problem or a mistake in the original test.  If a problem is found, they are then given the option of treatment if they want to continue receiving aid, if they don't want to go into a treatment plan, the aid is cut off.

The thinking is that some are on assistance because of drug problems, if those problems can be addressed, the assistance might not be needed, thus saving tax dollars.  If there is continued abuse and assistance has either not been taken or they won't participate in the program to the point of helping themselves, tax payers should not be flipping the bill for their drug abuse.

Now, I personally think it is a good idea...but that aside.  If I am truly elected to represent the people of the 148th District in J.C., then I must vote for it anyway.  This issue in my surveys always comes back one of the highest percents of support of any issue I have asked about.  As I said earlier, it is also wanted badly by those on assistance that truly need it and are not abusing it for drug use.  They are normally upset because they see the waste.

Where you got your information on the number of tests, cost of tests, etc... I don't know since I doubt you have read the bill we are working on (from the information you gave I know you were not using it as a source), but I do know for a fact that drug test are done by companies for a range of $25.00 to about $65.00 per test, depending on the number.  I am betting the state could get a better deal because of the volume.

Later,
Dave
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Offline matrsnot

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2009, 12:37:36 AM »
Retired military also pay income taxes on their retirement income.  So they are still contributing to pay their own checks.  What are the welfare recipients paying in?  ?  ?  ?  Oh.  I forgot.  They deserve these checks purely by breathing.  Something else.  I once worked for DFS.  There are GENERATIONS of families living on the system.  So, you were saying Winston?  You too could have made the choice made by many.  You could have actually served your country and be collecting the retainer check and continue to pay yourself through taxes.   :poke:

Offline David Day

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Re: It's about damn time!
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2009, 05:03:04 PM »
Just saw a report on TV about companies doing these tests for less than 10.00 per person.  It is also worth noticing that even kids playing H.S. sports in many school are subject to drug tests, so why not those receiving tax payer aid?

Also, I didn't mention above but we just finished the House side of the state budget.  1/3rd of the state budget, a little over 7 billion dollars, go to programs such as this.  Social Service programs.  So yes, I do think it is ok to ask folks receiving this aid from the taxpayers on MO to take a simple test a few times a year to help ensure that someone working to provide not only for their own family, but also provide for those that need help, are not having their dollars used to finance the usage of drugs.  I want to get this money to those that truly need it, not to those that want to abuse the dollars.

There are many people I feel that I am charged with looking out for as an elected official...but one of those groups are the taxpayers, that is a group that has all too often been forgotten about.

Outta here, gonna spend some time with the family before heading out again tomorrow.

Take care all,

Dave
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