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Friday, November 4, 2011 - 11:20am

Trading Drug Tests For Welfare

A freshman state lawmaker is planning to introduce legislation forcing welfare applicants to take a drug test. A federal judge has temporarily suspended a similar measure in Florida over privacy concerns.

Republican Representative Jason Spencer of Woodbine says people applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Family’s, or TANF, would take the test before getting benefits.

They would also have to pay around fifty dollars for the test out of their own pocket. People who fail it would forfeit the money, but people who pass get the funds back:

“What we would do in the case where it’s negative, the test result’s negative, the TANF benefit would actually be increased by the amount that the person actually spent.”

Spencer says the Georgia law would also keep test results confidential and make sure they cannot be used to prosecute anyone. Opponents say requiring the test alone violates privacy laws. Georgia’s law is modeled on a Florida measure that’s currently tied up in the courts.

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