Drug test welfare recipients, 2 Ga. lawmakers say

Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 7:30 AM
Last updated Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 12:58 AM
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Two Georgia lawmakers want to drug-test welfare recipients, a policy that’s been struck down as unconstitutional in other states.

Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, said Thursday they plan to introduce legislation to require people to pass a drug test to qualify for cash welfare.

“Georgia taxpayers have a vested interest in making sure that their hard-earned tax dollars are not being used to subsidize drug addiction,” Spencer said in a release. “In these tough economic times, it is easy to understand that many deserving families need some temporary help until they can bounce back financially — that’s why we have public assistance programs like TANF. This additional eligibility requirement will simply ensure that those funds are used for that intended purpose.”

TANF is Temporary Assis­tance for Needy Families, a federal program that pays cash to the poor for up to five years over their lifetimes. About 50,000 people receive it in Georgia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Spencer’s bill would not apply to people on food stamps or other public assistance, he said.

Congress authorized states to drug-test welfare recipients in 1996, but such laws have run into legal roadblocks before. A similar law in Michigan was ruled unconstitutional in 2003.

Last week, a judge temporarily halted a new Florida law requiring all welfare recipients to pass drug tests. It might violate privacy laws and the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizures because no evidence that recipients are actually on drugs is required, and the results can be turned over to police, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven ruled.

Spencer said he has addressed Scriven’s concerns. The state Department of Human Services would use the test results only to determine TANF eligibility and would not release them to law enforcement or another third party, he said.

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corgimom
32565
Points
corgimom 11/04/11 - 07:49 am
0
0
You know, by that reasoning

You know, by that reasoning Georgia has a vested interest in making sure their hard-earned tax dollars are not being used to subsidize alcoholism, either. And there are LOTS of alcoholics that are on welfare.

Of course, since drug and alcohol addictions are recognized as diseases, and people can legally get disability and welfare for having those diseases and not be able to work, yes, it's unConstitutional.

And before anybody tells me "But alcohol is legal, drugs are not" 1) It is not illegal to take illegal drugs, it's just illegal to possess them and 2) lots of the drug addicts are prescription drug addicts. So how would you distinguish betwee the two? And where do the methadone addicts fit into this? Do you say "It's ok to be addicted to methadone, but not ok to be addicted to heroin"?

Nice try, but it won't work. They'll get it passed, so that they can say they are looking out for the taxpayers, but it'll be struck down. What a waste of time and money.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 11/04/11 - 07:57 am
0
0
Well said corgimom. Also, we

Well said corgimom.

Also, we should look at how much this cost the state of Florida and what percentage it caught.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 11/04/11 - 08:01 am
0
0
“Two Georgia lawmakers want

“Two Georgia lawmakers want to drug-test welfare recipients, a controversial policy that’s been struck down as unconstitutional in other states.

Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, said Thursday they plan to introduce legislation to require people to pass a drug test to qualify for cash welfare.”

These are some brave lawmakers; it takes a lot of guts to go against the wind and support such an unpopular policy. These courageous souls pitting themselves against the moneyed forces of the poor; by golly, it’s like David against Goliath.

junkyardpig
417
Points
junkyardpig 11/04/11 - 08:03 am
0
0
why not test the ones that

why not test the ones that are now receiving the funds too!. once the fact is proven to see where the illegal activity comes from(high crime, poor school results etc..) , then a solution can be worked out. food stamp people also sell their stamps for money. its ok to test someone who wants to work but not ok to test someone who wants a handout. so what the country is saying is there is no benefit in being the best you can be but reward those who do poorly or wrong. if a person passes the test, then they deserve the benefits. if not, they lose or dont get them-period!

sleeplessknight
0
Points
sleeplessknight 11/04/11 - 08:03 am
0
0
I have to be drug tested to

I have to be drug tested to get and keep a job where I must EARN my money. I don't have a problem with either drug or alcohol testing for those who are given taxpayer money.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 11/04/11 - 08:10 am
0
0
There are better ways to

There are better ways to accomplish the same thing WITH probable cause. The cost/benefit of screening them all is not worth it.

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 11/04/11 - 08:18 am
0
0
Vito45, I see what you're

Vito45, I see what you're saying but as soon as you speak "with probable cause" then you get the complaint of profiling. It's a no win situation. The employed will continue to submit to a drug test at work, and the one's receiving assistance and abusing it, will never be held responsible.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 11/04/11 - 08:17 am
0
0
Is there really a Food Stamp
Unpublished

Is there really a Food Stamp issued in georgia? Everytime I go to Bi-Lo All I see is credit cards being scanned. In any event if there are no such thiongs as Food Stamps, why would someone call them that in legislation except for the expected sensationalism?

Dudeness
1544
Points
Dudeness 11/04/11 - 08:28 am
0
0
Last I heard, food stamps are

Last I heard, food stamps are given in the form of a debit card in GA.

This legislation doesn't have enough teeth if it doesn't even test food stamp recipients.

The providing of welfare in itself is unconstitutional, so I can't see how taking an action based on an unconstitutional action can be ruled unconstitutional.

Riverrunner30909
149
Points
Riverrunner30909 11/04/11 - 08:34 am
0
0
corgimom good thought and as
Unpublished

corgimom good thought and as with success if you think you can't you are correct, if you think you can you are correct. The same with this if you think it will fail it will. Lets just hope the lawmakers do not think that way, and yes there are a lot of problems, but like an elephant is a huge animal, but it can be eaten one bite at a time, lets just hope they see this at the first and most important bite.

Madgerman come on surely you do not think that foolish. The card you are talking about is the Georgia Peach card and most if not all states use a system like that, if you are on food assistance program they load your amount monthly on the card and you use it like a debit card, many businesses are using such a thing like that for payroll. When I was driving commercial my pay was put on a card such as that issued by the trucking company, walmart uses them.

CobaltGeorge
159042
Points
CobaltGeorge 11/04/11 - 08:49 am
0
0
My only comment on this

My only comment on this issue, America is waking up...I am 1000% for it...HoRaaaa.

Ashleyn1
44
Points
Ashleyn1 11/04/11 - 08:54 am
0
0
I think it's a great idea and

I think it's a great idea and I would appreciate it! I work 40 hours a week, take random drug/alcohol screens and pay my taxes. For those who are less fortunate than me...i don't mind "helping", but the least they can do is use the help in the right ways...instead of drug/alcohol abuse. I think to qualify you should have to be screened and it should be random as long as you are receiving assistance. GO GA!

cswoods516
10
Points
cswoods516 11/04/11 - 08:55 am
0
0
This is a tough situation.

This is a tough situation. In Florida on 2% of people tested under this program tested positive. The program is estimated to cost 178 million (for FL). That's a lot of money for only 2%. I'm not saying I agree or disagree but I do not think it's a cost effective program.
Second, should all residents who receive state aid participate in drug testing? Students who receive scholarships, tax exemptions etc... What is the difference? I don't want my tax dollars given out to undeserving people who are not trying to better themselves and their situation but I am not sure this is the best way to do it. Thoughts?

allhans
23663
Points
allhans 11/04/11 - 09:01 am
0
0
Just do it. The result that

Just do it. The result that continue to be repeated was after the applicants found that they would be tested.
Many that shouldn't have been applying in the first place stayed home since they knew they couldn't pass the test.
My daughter lives in Winter Haven and she says workers at local service agencies are ecstatic.

BamaMan
2356
Points
BamaMan 11/04/11 - 09:12 am
0
0
Why the heck would that be

Why the heck would that be unconstitutional??? I have to have a drug test to get a job, hence a paycheck, what's the problem with them having a drug test to get THEIR paycheck? One, which I am paying taxes for them to get! Think if I claimed it was unconstitutional, I would get the job anyway? I think not!

literallyamerican
29
Points
literallyamerican 11/04/11 - 09:14 am
0
0
All I can say is that if I

All I can say is that if I ever, God forbid, got in the situation where I had to have food stamps I have NO problem being tested. I am not in total agreement about the cost situation. I have no problem with my tax dollars going to eliminate the ones who dont deserve this help.
cswoods did it ever occur to you that the reason only 2% tested positive is because there were some "smart" losers in that pot of people who decided to just drop their luxurious benefits and not go in for testing?

simpson7769
0
Points
simpson7769 11/04/11 - 09:30 am
0
0
Best idea I've heard in a

Best idea I've heard in a long time!!!!!!!

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 11/04/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
Do not just test for welfare,

Do not just test for welfare, go for everything($$$$$$$$$$$$) that people are receiving. I have no problem with being drug tested, and neither should any law-abiding, deserving person receiving TAX-PAYERS MONEY!

cswoods516
10
Points
cswoods516 11/04/11 - 09:44 am
0
0
It did occur. I am sure a few

It did occur. I am sure a few people did not show up and pay $30 to have a drug test when they knew they would test hot. I think that is a small percent.
I am in no way FOR people abusing the system. I am however concerned about the fiscal responsibility this places on the people of Georgia. Is the purpose of the law to save money or enforce drug laws? If it's to save money look at what happened to Florida. The state paid more on the drug test than it did stopping peoples aid who tested positive. Maybe in Georgia we have a lot more people test positive...maybe not. If it's to enforce drug laws why not drug test everyone who gets a drivers license or purchases hunting and fishing licenses? The question I have is why does this particular program get singled out? Should anyone who is caught using drugs be banned from state/federal assistance? What about other crimes? I am exaggerating to question where the line goes and where it stops.
Tracking what I'm saying?

PrayN4U
350
Points
PrayN4U 11/04/11 - 09:59 am
0
0
I know some people use drugs

I know some people use drugs on welfare but that doesn't mean it is welfare money they are using. This also penalize the benefits that children need. It is unconstitutional to select a certain group of people to drug test because of their status. Who will be next? Will drug test be required before we vote because a certain party get re-elected? Seriously, I know there are a lot of problems with the welfare system but drug testing will not stop them. It will create a bigger problem for the innocent. Tell the social workers to get off their behinds and visit the homes. People who names are not on the lease should be evicted. Make parenting classes mandatory, make GED classes mandatory if the children drop out of school, form a neighborhood watch program in conjunction with the Richmond County police, Make them accountable for each other or get out, stop the maintenance yard clean up and make the responsible for their yard and sidewal area or get out, in other words their are a number of solutions to revamp these communities.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 11/04/11 - 09:59 am
0
0
I agree cswoods- they need to

I agree cswoods- they need to determine what the goal is. Good questions. Abusing the system should never happen, regardless what class you fall in. I also think politicians should be drug tested randomly.

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 11/04/11 - 10:04 am
0
0
When government or

When government or individuals take on trying to be responsible for others, it just never ends.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 11/04/11 - 10:18 am
0
0
It’s unfair to make people

It’s unfair to make people take a drug test unless you tell them what to study.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 11/04/11 - 10:35 am
0
0
If they won't submit to the

If they won't submit to the test then just don't give them the money. It's not theirs anyway. It's mine and everyone else who pays taxes. They DO have a choice.

onlysane1left
216
Points
onlysane1left 11/04/11 - 10:35 am
0
0
I love how people use the

I love how people use the analogy of drug testing for employment on this topic. My question is how can one equate, drug testing for employment, in which the employer pays for to drug testing from someone who has nothing, yet they are ones who end up paying, for our taxes, for the testing? Why dont you write to these congressmen, and just tell them not to send money to support TANF, just send large amounts of our tax money to the drug testing companies now, and cut out the middle man!

literallyamerican
29
Points
literallyamerican 11/04/11 - 10:45 am
0
0
"PrayN4U-- It is

"PrayN4U--
It is unconstitutional to select a certain group of people to drug test because of their status. "
They test all govt employees---is that unconstitutional?
They look for previous DUI's on people who drive for a living....
It is not unconstitutional unless you are doing something wrong. Raping the American people to continue support your own bad habits is unconstitutional.
Chillen you are RIGHT ON :)

iLove
626
Points
iLove 11/04/11 - 10:48 am
0
0
Many comments: I have to take
Unpublished

Many comments: I have to take a drug test for my job.

How does that to comapre to a citizen on welfare? THEY DON'T HAVE A JOB. Apples to oranges.

I agree with this earlier post.

"This is a tough situation. In Florida on 2% of people tested under this program tested positive. The program is estimated to cost 178 million (for FL). That's a lot of money for only 2%. I'm not saying I agree or disagree but I do not think it's a cost effective program.
Second, should all residents who receive state aid participate in drug testing? Students who receive scholarships, tax exemptions etc... What is the difference?"

The difference is the PERCEPTION of the people who are on welfare.....

allhans
23663
Points
allhans 11/04/11 - 10:49 am
0
0
I would think you could get a

I would think you could get a much better price if you had a large volume.

cswoods516
10
Points
cswoods516 11/04/11 - 11:00 am
0
0
Chilen, I am not sure anybody

Chilen,
I am not sure anybody has disagreed with that.

Onlysane1left,
I am not sure there are mega-drug testing-corporations out there. I assume they get sent to labs (maybe local, possibly state ran) for testing. I could be wrong.

iLove,
I agree with you about perception. The perception is poor people who are on welfare are druggies. Although it is not illegal to enforce drug laws where and when you want to. (Think, is it illegal to set up speed traps to target people on certain roads. Of course not). It is (Is it?) unETHICAL to target a specific people group to enforce drug laws. Not sure there is an easy answer.

CorporalGripweed
0
Points
CorporalGripweed 11/04/11 - 11:14 am
0
0
Love the idea. But,someone

Love the idea. But,someone mentioned earlier, alcoholism and drug addiction being recognized as diseases. To me this is ludicrous in and of itself. IMO they are conditions. A disease is something you catch or come down with. Overly simplistic I know to some, but to me common sense. That's what's wrong with so much of what goes on in today's world. No common sense. In my opinion asking those "on the dole"to pass a simple drug test is no more unconstitutional than me having to take one to get (and keep ) a job. Just common sense.

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