Georgia Lawmakers Introduce Controversial Drug Testing Policy

Lawmakers in the state of Georgia will be introducing a controversial policy to start drug testing welfare recipients. This controversial drug testing policy began earlier this year in Florida and has spread nationwide. Currently in Florida the policy has been put on hold temporarily due to possibly violating the Fourth Amendment on unreasonable search and seizure.

Although the controversial aspect of this policy does not seem to bother two Georgia lawmakers, Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell. They plan to introduce this policy into legislation, where in order to obtain welfare benefits a person must pass a drug test first.

This bill would apply only to people who are collecting welfare through the TANF (Temporarily Assistance for Needy Families) agency. According the the U.S. Census Bureau 50,000 people in Georgia receive this assistance, in which they are paid cash for up to five years over their lifetimes.


In a news release Spencer stated that, Georgia taxpayers have a vested interest in making sure that their hard-earned tax dollars are not being used to subsidize drug addiction. 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.”

Those receiving food stamps or other public assistance will not apply.

Under Spencer’s bill, a failed drug test will result in being ineligible for TANF for a month. If after that month a second failed drug test occurs they will be ineligible for a total of three months. An applicant will then be given a third chance, and if failed they will be banned from the program for a total of three years.

This policy will not affect children, who are excused from taking the required drug test. Even if their parent fails a drug test, the child will still get their amount of money.



One Response to “Georgia Lawmakers Introduce Controversial Drug Testing Policy”

  1. sonya hill | February 22, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    After growing up in Newark, NJ & now living in Atlanta. I see very limited positive results of this bill. (1)Testing a parent to receive benefits means nothing if there are no subsequent random tests. Also, people on welfare don’t have to buy drugs with food stamps/welfare money. They can commit petty crimes (boosting, etc) for money. The drug dependent ones do. Law makers need to sit down with drug dealers-get street educated. Some of these [bad] women are clever and will find a way around being detected. (2) a psychological exam would be better for welfare recipients. i.e. if a person has a mental disorder, they’re going to abuse alcohol, prescribed and maybe illegal drugs. They may even be a danger to others. Right? We all know this. The big problem is the welfare system is BROKEN. The social workers have too many cases/21 average. Some only spend 15 minutes inspecting a home…don’t even talk to the children or know what they look like. I am speaking from personal experience now and yes I survived. Some of my friends did not. In closing, if we don’t fix the welfare system as a whole society PAYS no matter who pays for the drug test.

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