A bill requiring food stamp and welfare recipients to submit to drug testing if suspected of illegal drug use has taken another step forward in the General Assembly. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee narrowly approved HB 772 on Monday.
Some Georgia applicants for food stamps and welfare benefits would have to pass a drug test under a House bill that cleared a committee Monday on a 7-6 vote. People applying for this government assistance would require testing if they raised “reasonable suspicion” of illegal drug use.
If there can be said to be a front-runner in the GOP primary for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate seat, it might be Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Savannah). The 11-term congressman has so far raised the most money in the race to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. In an interview with GPB in late December, Kingston called himself the “consensus conservative” in the race.
The number of people relying on food stamps in Georgia is rising. The program a year ago provided food assistance to a record 1.91 million people in the state a year ago. By this June, the program had added 40,000 more recipients.
Protesters rallied on the Capitol steps Thursday morning. They are upset about the possible passage of a bill that would require welfare recipients to pass a drug test. The bill would require parents who apply for public assistance to pay for and pass a random $17 dollar drug test in order to receive benefits.
Georgia lawmakers have passed a bill that would require welfare recipients to take a drug test before receiving benefits. GOP supporters of the measure say it would save taxpayers money but opponents say it’s unconstitutional and uncharitable.
Two Georgia lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation that would require people to pass a drug test to receive welfare. State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, said they hope lawmakers consider the plan next year.