Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has passed a controversial law mandating a $17 drug test for every resident applying for welfare assistance, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Kristina Torres reports.Deal joins a growing roster of state leaders looking for new ways to weed out unworthy candidates for government assistance. Nearly half the country’s already pushing some sort of drug test legislation, and Florida was the first to pass the law in July. As a result, the state’s welfare enrollment tanked to pre-recession levels.
A Florida judge blocked the law last year after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged it on grounds that it violates the Fourth amendment. Now it’s only a matter of time before Georgia faces the same scrutiny as it’s neighbour.
Atlanta-based Southern centre for Human Rights told the AJC it’s ready to roll with its own suit as soon as the state officially begins the tests.
“We are disappointed the governor signed the bill, given an almost identical law in Florida has been declared unconstitutional,” said Gerry Weber, an SCHR attorney.
Bill supporter Rep. Michael Harden, R-Toccoa, told media earlier this month the law’s 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.”