Under the bill, testing could be required if authorities have a
"reasonable suspicion" of drug use. A person failing the test would
temporarily lose benefits, although their children could receive
assistance through another adult.
Drug use is a barrier to finding and keeping a job, Deal spokesman
Brian Robinson said.
"If some, however, reject treatment and instead choose a lifestyle
that renders them unemployable, taxpayers shouldn't have to
subsidize that," Robinson said.
Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties
Union of Georgia, called the legislation "shameful" and said it
violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable
She also argued that state employees are not adequately trained to
detect signs of possible drug use.
"It's a badly flawed bill," she said. "It will be challenged."
Deal, a Republican, is up for re-election this year and will likely
face State Senator Jason Carter, a Democrat and the grandson of
former President Jimmy Carter, in the November general election.
Jason Carter, who voted against the bill, declined through a
spokesman to comment.
[to top of second column]
A federal judge late last year struck down a Florida bill requiring
drug screening for welfare recipients, ruling it violated the
constitutional prohibition of unreasonable searches.
Last summer, North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory vetoed
legislation that would have required some recipients of cash welfare
benefits to undergo drug screenings, saying it had proven
ineffective in other states.
(Editing by Kevin Gray)
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