The state legislature passed a bill last week imposing drug tests for anyone who raises a “reasonable suspicion” of drug abuse in the minds of state program administrators. Once an administrator decides to make a suspicious person pee in a cup, the law requires the accused party to cover the $17 cost of the test that will exonerate him.A Florida bill requiring all welfare applicants to be drug tested was ultimately struck down by a federal judge, but not before it cost the state nearly $120,000 in reimbursements for negative drug tests. Georgia plans to avoid the cost of reimbursements for negative drug tests by just not offering them; even if someone tests negative, they still shoulder the cost of testing. The Georgia bill may still run into a legal problem, though:
The governor is expected to sign the bill into law “based on the fact that he did sign a similar drug testing bill a couple years ago,” a civil liberties lawyer in Georgia told MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff.
The email from Robert Caskey of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (the food stamp program) to Georgia officials on March 7, citing federal law, said that “no state agency shall impose any other standards of eligibility” beyond the provisions of the federal Food and Nutrition Act, which does not require drug testing.This obviously isn't deterring Republicans in the Georgia legislature. Anything in the rush to join the recent Republican hotness of stigmatizing poor people as probable drug users.
“The addition of a drug testing provision of any type is prohibited in the SNAP program,” the email said.