Is It Okay to Drug Test Welfare Recipients?
On Monday Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law a bill that would require applicants for welfare to be tested for drugs. Dubbed the Social Responsibility and Accountability Act, the law is set to go into effect on June 1st, and will certainly face challenges from civil liberties groups.
According to Colorlines.com, over two-dozen other states are considering similar laws. Supporters argue that such laws will save taxpayer money and stop abuse of the welfare system. However, much like the supposed threat of “voter fraud” that is allegedly behind the recent spate of discriminatory voter ID laws across the country, there is very little evidence that drug-taking welfare recipients is a widespread problem.
Are laws like the Social Responsiblility and Accountability Act providing a real solution to a real problem, or is it the byproduct of a war on our nation’s poor, and a violation of their 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure?
“The laws raise concerns about the barriers the tests place on all families in need of assistance. Welfare applicants in Georgia will have to pay out of pocket for the drug test. The tests are expected to cost at least $17, though testing sites in Florida cost as much as $50. For poor families, this cost can prove prohibitive.
‘What we have is a vulnerable population who are already struggling and then we’re going to target them with additional hurdles. This puts up real barriers for families,’ said Pamela Perkins Carn, who runs the Interfaith Children’s Movement, a coalition of Georgia faith groups that opposed the legislation. ‘We are here to care for our children and to care for each other. This does not do that.’”
Is it necessary to test welfare applicants for illegal drug use?
Why do you think such laws are becoming popular right now?
Sound off below!