Georgia Governor Signs Law to Drug Test Some Welfare Recipients

David Beasley, Reuters, April 29, 2014

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation on Tuesday requiring some applicants for food stamps and welfare benefits to undergo a drug test.

Under the bill, testing could be required if authorities have a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. A person failing the test would temporarily lose benefits, although their children could receive assistance through another adult.


Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, called the legislation “shameful” and said it violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.

She also argued that state employees are not adequately trained to detect signs of possible drug use.

“It’s a badly flawed bill,” she said. “It will be challenged.”


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


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