Food stamp and welfare recipients could have to submit to drug testing if a state caseworker suspected they used drugs under legislation approved by the state House on Monday.
House Bill 772, by Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia, passed 107-66.
The bill was toned down from its original version, which required anyone who receives food stamps to pass a drug test. Morris agreed to the change because of a federal court’s earlier ruling that a similar bill requiring welfare recipients in Florida to take drug tests was unconstitutional. That ruling also scuttled a 2012 law that Georgia lawmakers passed regarding welfare recipients.
HB 772, instead, would require Department of Family and Children Services employees to determine whether there is a “reasonable suspicion” the applicant used drugs. An example, Morris said, would be if someone applying for benefits was fired from a previous job for drug use.
Under questioning from Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, Morris said there would be no requirement that DFCS workers undergo special training to identify drug abuse or to protect an individual’s right against unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment.
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