Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation on Tuesday requiring some applicants for food stamps and welfare benefits to undergo a drug test.
Under the bill, testing could be required if authorities have a “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. A person failing the test would temporarily lose benefits, although their children could receive assistance through another adult.
Drug use is a barrier to finding and keeping a job, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said.
“If some, however, reject treatment and instead choose a lifestyle that renders them unemployable, taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize that,” Robinson said.
Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, called the legislation “shameful” and said it violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches.
She also argued that state employees are not adequately trained to detect signs of possible drug use.
“It’s a badly flawed bill,” she said. “It will be challenged.”