Should people who get food stamps be drug tested?
Georgia Governor Signs Law To Begin Drug Testing Select Welfare Recipients
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation on Tuesday requiring some applicants for food stamps and welfare benefits to undergo a drug test.
Via Reuters reports:
Under the bill, testing could be required if authorities have a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. A person failing the test would temporarily lose benefits, although their children could receive assistance through another adult.
Drug use is a barrier to finding and keeping a job, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said.
“If some, however, reject treatment and instead choose a lifestyle that renders them unemployable, taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize that,” Robinson said.
Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, called the legislation “shameful” and said it violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.
She also argued that state employees are not adequately trained to detect signs of possible drug use.
“It’s a badly flawed bill,” she said. “It will be challenged.”
Deal, a Republican, is up for re-election this year and will likely face State Senator Jason Carter, a Democrat and the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, in the November general election.
Jason Carter, who voted against the bill, declined through a spokesman to comment.
A federal judge late last year struck down a Florida bill requiring drug screening for welfare recipients, ruling it violated the constitutional prohibition of unreasonable searches.
Last summer, North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory vetoed legislation that would have required some recipients of cash welfare benefits to undergo drug screenings, saying it had proven ineffective in other states.
The 800,000 Georgia families receiving food stamps and the 17,000 receiving TANF assistance have a hard enough time getting by each day without getting kicked while they’re down. Wouldn’t it be great if Georgia’s policymakers instead spent their time creating opportunities for poor people to improve their financial situation?