Georgia Governor Signs Law To Begin Drug Testing Select Welfare Recipients


(AllHipHop News)  Yesterday (April 30th), Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a bill into law that would require certain welfare recipients to undergo a drug test. 

Under the new law, welfare recipients whom state employees have a “reasonable suspicion” has used drugs will  be subjected to a drug test they themselves must pay for, whether positive test or not. Failed drug test will result in temporary suspension of benefits. Govenor Deal understood the complexity and implications of the new law but stressed its pertinence to Georgia:

You’re trying to balance two competing forces. First is the right of the individual if they qualify to be given assistance in terms of food stamps. On the other hand, the right of the taxpayer not to be putting money in the hands of those abusing drugs. So it’s a delicate balance of social issues.

Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, pointed out a possible flaw in the new law. According to Seagraves, state employees are not trained to adequately detect “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. Howvever,M Deal spokesman Brian Robinson illustrated how accountability is what is the foundation of this new law:

If some, however, reject treatment and instead choose a lifestyle that renders them unemployable, taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize that. 

Drug use and trafficking has recently been a growing problem in certain areas of Georgia. According to Fox31 Onilne, “10 to 12 drug arrests” have occurred in Warwick, GA on Highway 300 alone, since late January.

Florida passed a similar bill into law back in 2011, but the program ended up costing taxpayers more money than it saved. Two years later in late December 2013, Judge Mary S. Scriven of the United States District Court in Orlando ruled that a similar welfare drug testing program proposed in Florid violated the protection against unreasonable searches. According to Scriven, the Florida law was unconstitutional:

The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied.