Welfare drug testing bill moves forward - CBS46 News

Welfare drug testing bill moves forward

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A bill that would require certain welfare recipients to undergo drug testing passed a Senate committee Monday night.

Sponsored by Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia, the measure would require testing if there is "reasonable suspicion" a recipient is on drugs.

Morris said one example of reasonable suspicion is if someone was terminated from a job for drug use.

The lawmaker said many employers require drug testing so the government should as well.

"I don't have any opinion that folks that use food stamps are any more likely to use drugs," Morris told CBS46 News. "My stance is if it's good enough for working Georgians, it's good enough for those who are getting benefits paid for by taxpayers."

Georgia currently has a law that requires welfare recipients to undergo drug testing before getting government funding or food stamps. However, the state has not enforced the 2012 law, since a similar law is currently being legally challenged in Florida.

"My first reaction is please don't let them pass this bill and leave the state open for a costly lawsuit," said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the Atlanta Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Seagraves said even the watered-down bill now on the table is unconstitutional.

"It makes me very sad and upset that we have legislators who are willing to totally ignore the Constitution in order to punish and demonize poor people," said Seagraves.

Some who are currently receiving government assistance said they would submit to drug testing if required.

"If I have nothing to hide, I feel there's no reason to not take it," said Jahnai Cain, a single mother of two.

The measure now goes to the Senate Rules Committee. If passed there, it will go to the full Senate for a vote.

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