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Ga. lawmakers try reconciling drug testing bills

ATLANTA (AP) — Women in domestic violence shelters would be exempt from taking drug tests before getting welfare payments under a change made by a House committee to one of two similar proposals.

The House and Senate have approved similar legislation requiring that people applying for welfare payments take a drug test before getting cash assistance. The bills from Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, and Rep. Michael Harden, R-Toccoa, differ slightly and may ultimately be reconciled during negotiations in a conference committee.

On Wednesday, members of the House Judiciary Civil committee voted to exempt women in domestic violence shelters from having to take drug tests to get welfare payments. Critics of the testing plan had argued that abused women sometimes cope by abusing drugs and may be hesitant to leave a violent partner if they do not have financial support.

In some cases, abused woman individually qualify for welfare and receive the cash directly. Others get indirect support because they live in shelters funded by the welfare program.

It remains unclear exactly how much money a testing program would cost. Budget officials estimated in late February that the original proposal from Albers would result anywhere from a state financial loss of $84,500 to a savings of $103,000. Harden did not request a financial analysis of his proposal because he said it would not cost the state money.

State officials estimate they would need to spend $200,000 on a computer system so they could deduct the cost of the testing from the money given to welfare recipients, said Cliff O'Connor, the fiscal officer for the Division of Family and Children Services. Those deductions are included under Harden's original proposal.

Comments

kevin 2 years ago

The Federal govenment puts restrictions & regulations on all of us who get any money from them so why can't the states control thier money by drug testing? It is shameful enough to be giving tax money to the same people for many years, we shoudl make sure they don't buy drugs with the money. Of course, they can do it very easily on the streets. That is why drug testing should be required for all recepients. Period.

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Less_is_More 2 years ago

You should be asking which one of our faithful lawmakers is profiting from these tests. A guaranteed income stream for someone in the big boys' game. It's hunting on a baited field. And plenty of righteous folks to pull the trigger. Makes me sick. Go ahead. Make yourselves a Deal. Oops. That happened already.

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R 2 years ago

Just as long as they include themselves in random selection and test for alcohol while they're at it.

Who knows, it may improve the performance of our elected leaders at the Dome. Passing major tax legislation which senators and representatives admit they DIDN'T read in entirety before voting yes? Why NOT - it worked for Nancy Pelosi and Health care right? A tax cut that REALLY becomes a tax increase... So now "they passed it and we get to find out what's in it". Wonder if they reinstated tax on groceries for all? Speaker Tom Murphy where are you?

I can't wait to see what happens when people start selling/ buying cars privately and find out they have to PAY 7 percent tax. DOH!!!

Boy the county tag reps will be in for a storm for sure!

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Say_that_again 2 years ago

And all this time, I thought we had a budget shortfall. Now we are going to spend more money on drug testing. Requiring women fleeing from domestic violence and not seeking a shelter must be tested and shelter residences being exempt will increase numbers of women seeking to be sheltered too, just a little more expense for the state. I see law suits. Another expense to the state. Thank you, R, for pointing out the arrogance of lawmakers claiming to be above testing while dictating this restriction onto others. Make them provide an appropriate sample while being watched every time they pick up a pay check! They would be fast to block the law then.

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mickey 2 years ago

It is about time we drug tested everyone that wants handout welfare money!

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Mack711 2 years ago

My employer requires random drug test to keep my job. Now it is time to require citizens who accept public assistance to do the same. It is simple fail a drug test at work and you go to rehab. Fail it the second time you lose your job. It should be required by all to take a drug test. Pass and no problem, fail and no assistance.

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