Tue., March 16, 2010 5:31pm (EDT)

Drug Tests For The Unemployed Proposed
By Susanna Capelouto
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —   A bill introduced in the legislature today would require random drug tests of people who get unemployment benefits and of those who get public assistance. Republican Representative Jimmy Pruitt from Eastman says it would help the unemployed get jobs.

"We have to make sure that these people have the ability to go back to work and one of the things preventing them from having that opportunity is getting past a drug test," he says.

Under the proposal people would have to pay about $25 dollars for the test. They'd loose their benefits for a year if they fail.

The idea drew quick criticism from lawmakers who represent impoverished areas. Democrat Tyrone Brooks called the idea draconian and offensive.

"It is un Amercian to attack the poor for being poor," Brooks says.

According to the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, a similar program in Michigan was struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.

Any bill introduced this late in the session can only pass if it has the support of House Leaders. None of them have signed on to the bill.