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Georgia won’t enforce GOP-backed drug testing law for food stamp recipients

  1. Rob Cypher
    Georgia will not drug test food stamp recipients under a controversial new law that both federal and state officials concluded was illegal, the governor’s office said on Friday.

    The Republican-controlled legislature this spring passed a law requiring testing if authorities had a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. People failing the test would temporarily lose food stamp benefits, although children could still receive them.

    The drug testing law, set to take effect July 1, drew outcry from civil liberties advocates, who said it violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.

    Recently, both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Georgia’s attorney general determined the drug testing plan violated federal law.

    “The law is the law,” said Rep. Greg Morris, the measure’s Republican sponsor, backing away from earlier calls to fight for drug testing in court.

    Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said the state risked losing funding for food stamps if it enforced drug testing.

    “The very essence of the rule of law is that we follow the law even if we disagree with it,” Olens, a Republican, wrote in a letter to the governor.

    Republican Governor Nathan Deal, who signed the law, will abide by the attorney general’s opinion, a spokesman said on Friday.

    A federal judge late last year struck down a Florida bill requiring drug screening for welfare recipients, ruling it violated the constitutional prohibition on unreasonable searches.

    The Georgia law would have faced a similar challenge, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

    June 13, 2014



  1. Diverboone
    Those that fund programs such as this are held to a higher standard than those requesting assistance. Random drug testing is common in the work place, which means that many of employed tax paying citizens are subject to random test. These are the people whos income with holdings support these programs.

    How is it unconstitutional to random test those who request assistance but perfectly legal and accepted to random test those that are forced to provide this assistance?

    For a search to be unreasonable the has to exist a reasonable expectation of privacy. Anyone requesting such benefits have waived some degree of privacy by the very act of the request. Private matter have to be disclosed during the application process.

    At some point those who receive these handouts should have to show some level of responsibility Submitting to random drug screens is not too much to ask. Those receiving assistance do not have the funds to afford illicit drug use and should be prepared to take a pre-employment drug screen at anytime. Most are either unemployed or under employed, either way their financial situation has become a burden upon everyone.

    Personally I do not have an issue with recreational drug. What I have an issue with is those that are unwilling or fail to understand that recreation is the first to get removed from personal budgets, well before becoming a burden upon society. In a nut shell those that receive government assistance do not have the money to be using illicit drugs.

    I know that my view will not be inline with many. But you can be damn sure that before I ever asked to be support by any such program, any drug use I had would have stopped well before I ever requested and became a burden upon society.
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