Photo: CBS Atlanta
They may not be able to track lotto winners, but lawmakers in nearly half the country are pushing legislation that would force welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug screening.Georgia is on the brink of passing its own drug test bill, which has sailed through the state’s House of Representatives and Senate and should land on the governor’s desk soon, CBS Atlanta’s Steve Kiggins reports.
Bill supporter Rep. Michael Harden, R-Toccoa, told Kiggins their agenda is simple: To protect taxpayer dollars from going into the hands of addicts.
“I don’t know many drug addicts that freely admit they’re drug addicts so this is going to get them on the radar screen so we can get them the help that they deserve,” Harden said. “They’re receiving the hard earned tax payer dollars of the people of this state, that alone puts them into that qualification to be drug tested.”
Texas tried and failed to pass a drug test bill last year, but others in states like Wyoming, Maryland and Tennessee are still pending. Florida was the first to pass the law in July.
The question now is whether such a law is even constitutional.
The American Civil Liberties Union launched a lawsuit challenging the law in Florida on grounds that it violates the Fourth amendment. According to The New York Times, the state’s welfare enrollment tanked to pre-recession levels since the drug test requirement went into effect.
And lawmakers aren’t just vying to weed out addicts from the welfare system. At least a dozen states have proposed drug screenings for unemployment insurance applicants.