Fate of Georgia's welfare drug testing law unknown - CBS46 News

Fate of Georgia's welfare drug testing law unknown

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

A controversial Georgia law requiring new welfare applicants to pass drug tests to receive their benefits may be in jeopardy after a federal judge struck down a similar law in Florida.

Opponents of the Georgia law said the ruling may mean the measure may not be implemented.

The state senator who championed the law believes it can withstand a legal challenge.

"We're on the right side of right here," said state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed the measure into law, but delayed implementing pending decision on the Florida law.

A federal judge this week struck down a similar law in Florida, saying it violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

"(I'm) very disappointed in the court's opinion," Albers said. "The people who fund the government should ask the same thing of those receiving a free government benefit as they do in the marketplace."

Albers added that he believed the Georgia law can withstand legal challenge despite the ruling on the Florida mandate.

"While our laws are similar, they are not identical as Florida and I believe Florida will appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it should be decided in favor of the people," Albers said.

Neil Kaltenecker, executive director of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, said the law is unconstitutional.

"We said specifically this wasn't going to pass constitutional muster and felt it was a waste of time," Kaltenecker said.

The governor's office did not respond to CBS Atlanta's questions asking about the fate of the Georgia law.

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