Georgia signs bill to drug-test welfare recipients
Over the years, as the recession came and went, leaving in its wake an untold number relying on government assistance, we have watched from afar the batting around of landmark legislation.
In the U.S., there has long been support for a contentious, controversial new law that would force welfare recipients to pass a drug test before receiving benefits.
The proposals have been social nightmares for American lawmakers, who feel the wrath of civil liberties groups for even breathing word that such a law may gain traction.
And indeed it seemed for a while that none may ever take hold. Last October, the most aggressive state in pursuing such legislation, Florida, blocked the motion, the presiding judge writing that “the constitutional rights of a class of citizen are at stake.”
But one state north, and progress – or, if you prefer, regression – has been made.
*Bing: Who is eligible for welfare in Canada?
Georgia signed House Bill 861 on Monday, stating that new drug-testing policies will overhaul how the state doles out welfare benefits.
Under the new law, parents who apply for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will need to pay for, and pass, a drug test that will cost at least $17.
Already, Georgia officials estimate that should prevent some 800 recipients from receiving benefits the state infers would be used to purchase illegal narcotics. This would be, to backers of the law, the best-case scenario.
Though of course opponents are rearing their heads: “We are disappointed the governor (Nathan Deal) signed the bill, given an almost identical law in Florida has been declared unconstitutional,” an attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights said. A lawsuit against the state has been threatened.
But then it all comes back to the same question we’ve still yet to hear an answer for: what, exactly, is the drawback to ensuring public money isn’t smoked, snorted or shot?
The most glaring consequence of drug-testing welfare recipients is that they’re on the hook for the cost of the test, but even then that’s only $17, and it only has to be completed once. That seems like a fair compromise.
And once more, what is the defence? Opponents of drug-testing laws cry for the privacy of citizens, but not once do they address why, nor do they acknowledge just what a drain wasted welfare dough is on taxpayers.
What it boils down to is this: drug-testing an employee of a company may stretch the boundaries of intrusion, though the rules change when public cash is handed out. A recipient of welfare, an important service to many, is not earning that money in the same way most citizens do. Since it is taxpayer money subsidizing or providing their income, it must face a higher standard.
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: Matt | Apr 18, 2021 2:46:38 AM
I have to take a piss test to get a job and pay into the system, so why can't someone using the system take a piss test to collect it? Just doesn't make sense....
Posted by: Old Bigfoot | Apr 18, 2021 11:15:35 AM
Matt beat me to my comment! I have worked for less wages than Welfare and I am proud to look into my mirror every morning.
Posted by: Al-Man | Apr 18, 2021 12:22:59 PM
Hell, good for Georgia. I think it should spread to every juristiction in north america. Why should my tax dollars fund someones drug habit? Take the test, gather empty cans on the road side to pay for it, then collect welfare. I think it should be repeated every year, and not on a set day either. Random times once a year to continue collecting. If they don't like it, there is a job close by somewhere.
There shouldn't be a problem. Like Matt said, many have to be tested to get a private job, why not test to collect public money?
Posted by: Sanity at Last | Apr 18, 2021 12:34:31 PM
Even better ... if you pass the drug test, you get your $17. back with the first welfare cheque. If you don't... sayonara to the $17. AND the monthly freebies. And here's another deal... for those who have seem the TV show Lockup-Raw... how about setting up a penal colony on some offshore uninhabited island. Throw all the murderers, rapists, pedophiles and anyone else serving life and let them sort each other out... kinda like Survivor. Another tax drain removed from the system.
Posted by: mike | Apr 19, 2021 12:27:33 AM
ya deserted island and sort it out to the no goodies
Posted by: Alison | Apr 19, 2021 1:50:14 AM
Some people are on drugs perscribed from their doctors...It should be determined if they are allowed the drugs by a doctor. But overall YES!!! A BIG RESOUNDING YES!!! I'm sick of paying what is it like 47% of all the money I break my body for is going to a government that hands it out to crackheads so they can stay in bed all day?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!?!?!!!??? WHILE THE REST OF US PAY FOR IT?????!!!!!!!!!!???????????!!???????? Sorry for the question marks and exclamation points but jesus christ why has this not already been done???? What's the f***ing hold up Canada??? This is one bandwagon you desperately need to jump on...*ugh* so disgusted with this world...
Posted by: Ronald Flower | Apr 19, 2021 3:17:26 AM
I hope the Government of Canada will follow suit . But I doubt it , we forgive criminals , killers, arsonists , gang members etc . we shorten their sentences , and hope they will not offend again . Our Government is so soft on criminals and make the hard working tax payer , pay more so the drug addicts and criminals languish in modern jails. Good for you there in Georgia , I can respect your direction completely
Posted by: Burt and Ernie | Apr 19, 2021 7:53:31 AM
Funny peopl are so quick to judge a person receiving assistance, that they are lazy criminal as well. Addiction is a disease just like diabetes, and if our big businesse and our government were not letting companies move offshore to make bigger profits and richers executives and shareholders maybe welfare would not be needed as much. Check out where things are being made when you shop product of USA and Canada are being seen less frequintly all the time
Posted by: annette from canada | Apr 19, 2021 8:22:18 AM
i think its a great idea and i hope they take a ilue here in canada. they actually give odsp in canada to addicts which they consider a disibility.wefare is supposed to be a hand "up" not a hand "out". if you are doing the right thing with the money then you should line up and be thankful that our country's have a welfare system in place at all.
Posted by: J.P. | Apr 19, 2021 9:58:18 AM
Not sure how anyone considers drug addiction a disease. In my opinion if you can make a decision to stop something (even if it is difficult) it is not a disease. You can't decide to stop having cancer. You can take steps to prevent but there are no guarantees. You can decide to stop doing drugs and more importantly you only need to take 1 step to not be an addict in the first place. Don't put that garbage in your body (this was my method and it worked great).
Posted by: Lindsay | Apr 19, 2021 10:53:19 AM
Canada should adopt this policy and like employees of a company, recipients should be tested randomly as long as they are receiving their benefits. We have rent banks to help the less fortunate cover rent and hydro, but what did the recipients do with the basic needs and shelter money the were given at the first of the month? I think the time has come to test regularly, all those accessing the system in both countries.
Please do not whine about what I have written here as this change would affect me personally as a provincial disability recipient. I am eager to take a drug test if asked, just to prove that not everyone in the system is playing the system! Civil right, bullshit - this is an opportunity for recipients of social assistance to once and for all prove that all the stereo types out there about recipients as lazy stoners and drunks are lies.
Addicts do not need benefits, they need rehab fauclities that do not encourage a dependancy on Meth, which is just a legal high. How are we weaning addicts when we put them on Meth for years on end. Detox the body under supervision then teach them to care for themselves, then give them the benefits to apply what they have learned in recovery when they are released. Meth is not the answer, the physical suffering of withdrawl is an incentive to never go back to drugs. No incentive to quit, why quit, most addicts taking meth that I know are still using other drugs and alcohol, they get their meth at the walk-in when they get up, just to take the edge off of the night before and tide them over until they can score something else. Let's finally make their choises clear to them, social assistance or addiction, not one to pay for the other.
Posted by: Idontcareanymore | Apr 19, 2021 11:29:36 AM
Should they then be allowed to spend thier money on cigarettes and booze instead? This won't fix the problem.
Posted by: Idontcareanymore | Apr 19, 2021 11:31:29 AM
Regulate and tax marijuana. Then at least the money we give away comes back through the system.
Posted by: Steve L. | Apr 19, 2021 12:12:42 PM
The whole welfare system need be overhauled anyway. Welfare money should be used as top up for below povery level WORKING people. No job, please there is always an abundance of minimum wage jobs to be had, no free money to sit at home.
Posted by: JK | Apr 19, 2021 1:02:42 PM
YES! I think Canada should do this. Why should people on disability and welfare get our tax payers money to live off for nothing, most of them can work they choose not too. I think they should all be drug tested and also sent to do community service. I mean really you are getting this money to live off of for free so you can sit around...come on, road side garbage pickup twice a week would at least, look at the trash people throw out of vehicles when driving. DRUG TEST THEM ALL and lets get people working! Awesome Idea!
Posted by: R V | Apr 19, 2021 3:16:32 PM
I think that is the best thing the Govt came up with. Tax payers are sick and tired of paying for these people that continue to abuse themselves and the system. Welfare is suppose to be for shelter and food not drug habits. Not to mention alot of people not only use but they sell drugs and make money and collect welfare. I agree with the previous person who says there are jobs out there ......people just have to get off their butts and work. Our system is SOOOOO broken .....it 's needs to be fixed. I have 4 children and work. My ex won't work because he doesn't want to pay support and to top it off he is on welfare and lives with his girlfirend who also collects welfare. They use their welfare to buy alcohole and drugs . Her I am paying taxes to support them. Where is the justice in that.
Posted by: James | Apr 19, 2021 4:41:06 PM
I agree this is a great plan. It should be implemented across Canada and whatever country out there that has a social assistance program. To those people who say "what about civil rights?! And my right to be a lazy SOB and get high on some one else’s money" I ask this. What is wrong with this plan? Other than you complaining about having a free cash flow to you drug habit. I hear this all the time when this topic comes up and all the excuses about how "I can’t find work and can’t get a good job" bla bla bla. I came from a family who at one time needed to use welfare to get things going. Yes my mother used it and while she did so she went to school to become a nurse and later on a professor at a collage in BC. So I know the program used in the right way works and helps those in need of it. I also know the people who buck this drug testing only do so because they want to have a care free high life. That I think is the most selfish thing any one could do. Not give a crap and only hurt the people who may need that little bit of help to get the ball rolling. Human rights are always a convenient front for those who hate to walk past the mirror in the morning and look at what they really are. Users and losers.
Posted by: Shell | Apr 19, 2021 6:33:53 PM
I am sad to say I am in Canada as I AGREE with Georgia on doing drug tests I think random would be good not just once...People don't seem to realize BOTH our countries are suffering huge from people abusing the systems in place set forth for them....to me it makes no sense my husband and I pay in taxes for 2 families EVERY year to stay on the system ( yea alot of taxes )...makes sense prove you aren't abuseing the system...I hope Canada steps up and follows suit too...:) we as fellow tax payers have a right to see this take place as they are taking our money...I have a food bank down the street from me and the ' new ' vehicles I see there is sad hence why I refuse to donate as it is people being greedy....
Posted by: canadian who agrees, everyone on the system should be tested | Apr 19, 2021 6:54:44 PM
We pay into a system who hands out Welfare to whoever they see fits the bill. Really???? Everyone who NEEDS it for a temporary situation should be tested. I work hard for MY money, and do not use drugs, can't afford it, anyway. So, if these people are on welfare, How can they afford it? A BIG HIGH FIVE TO THE PISS TEST FOR WELFARE. IF YOU DON'T AGREE TO THE PISS TEST, THEN YOU ARE ON DRUGS AND DON'T NEED THE WELFARE, AS YOU CAN AFFORD DRUGS BUT CAN'T AFFORD YOUR RENT OR GROCERIES? YOU NEED TO PUT YOUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER, ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS CHILDREN INVOLVED. OR GET A JOB!!!!!! THEN YOU CAN DO ALL THE DRUGS YOU WANT AND DON;T NEED TO ANSWER TO ANYONE, YOU ONLY HAVE YOURSELF TO BLAME FOR YOUR HARD TIMES. PUMPING GAS IS BETTER THAN WELFARE, AT LEAST YOU HAVE YOUR DIGNITY.
Posted by: Kat | Apr 19, 2021 7:54:57 PM
Drug testing should be done if you are looking for welfare period. I agree that our Welfare system needs to be revamped. It's a joke the way it is now. Talk about sticking it to the working people. I'm sure all you taxpayers just love the nice chunk of your paycheque that the government takes from you, so they can just throw away on whatever their whim is. Not like we have any say in the matter. The welfare game just seems to follow in families to. If the parents were on the system, the kids just seem to follow suite. They have no ambition to get a job and support themselves, they just sit back and figure that the world owes them a living. Well if the rest of the world has to work they need to get off their ass and do something, anything. Welfare should only be given to add to their income if they cannot make ends meet, and I mean within reason. I don't expect them to be able to go out and purchase a nice new car on my tax dollars. But if it means a roof over their heads and food on the table, a helping hand is ok as long as it is not abused.