The Georgia legislature is considering enacting a bill that would require welfare recipients submit to drug testing to receive benefits.
Versions of the bill passed both in the Georgia House and the this week.
Supporters say if applicants are on drugs, they won't be good stewards of the taxpayers' money that funds welfare.
Opponents say it's likely to be challenged and note a federal judge struck down a similar initiative in Florida, WABE reported Friday.
The measure has garnered national attention and even international headlines as far away as India.
Meanwhile, legislators in Wyoming rejected a similar bill that would have required drug testing for benefits.
A separate bill under consideration by the Georgia legislature would require food stamp recipients enroll in job training programs as a condition of receiving benefits.
Better Georgia, a non-partisan political group, opposes the drug testing measure.
"It's singling out one group of Georgia residents and making them a special group," Bryan Long, Better Georgia's executive director, told East Atlanta Patch.
Lawmakers should be focused on things that would spark job creation, not targeting the jobless, Long said.
Better Georgia plans to send urine-testing cups to state lawmakers within a week to underscore that they, too, receive taxpayer money.
If legislators feel drug testing is critical, they should lead by example, he said.
The organization conducted a survey of 806 registered Georgia voters and found:
- 79 percent support testing elected officials and senior appointed officials
- 66 percent support testing CEOs of corporations that get tax credits or government contracts
- 64 percent support testing welfare recipients and unemployment recipients
"If they’re wanting accountability, start with those in power and start testing them and then you can start including other people to test," Long said.
What do you think? Should welfare recipients be drug tested as a condition of receiving benefits or are they being singled out unfairly?