SIXTEEN YEARS ago, R.J. Feild was born to a heroin-addicted welfare mother in Southern California. Brought into the world underweight and premature, he has trouble walking, and his bad eyesight makes it hard for him to read. He was, however, able to enter an essay contest sponsored by Assemblyman John Benoit (R-Palm Desert) called "There Oughta Be a Law," in which the winner's proposed bill would be brought to the floor of the California legislature. Feild's essay suggested giving random drug tests to welfare recipients and stripping benefits from people who tested positive.
He won the contest. "You can't make up this story," says Assemblyman Benoit. "The beauty of this bill is that it comes from a real-life, lovable young man who'll the suffer rest of his life for mistakes of his mother. When you see him make this argument, you can't help be sympathetic to it."
"R.J.'s Law," as submitted by Benoit, is actually a little less strict than what the 16-year old proposed. It offers people who fail the drug test a choice between losing their benefits and entering rehab...