State rep. introduces bill to drug test for food stamps - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

State rep. introduces bill to drug test for food stamps

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ATLANTA -

Should people who receive Food Stamps be required to pass a drug test? Well, nearly 15 percent of the America's population receives Food Stamps.

In Georgia, nearly 1.8 million people received Food Stamps in December of 2013. That month alone, the cost to taxpayers was $224 million.

And, that's why State Representative Greg Morris (R-Vidalia) says we need to do all we can to cut down on abuse and fraud. He introduced a bill in Georgia that would require Food Stamp recipients to undergo mandatory drug testing.

In 2012, the Georgia Legislature approved a law making drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients. So when Rep. Morris introduced House Bill 772 recently, he didn't think he'd get much push-back, since it is just an extension of the current law.

"The most important thing that we do up here at the capitol is protecting tax payers dollars. Make sure they're spent wisely and I can't think of anything more egregious than for people's tax payer dollars to be used to subsidize drug abuse," said Morris.

But the 2012 law has yet to be enacted in Georgia. A federal judge recently struck Florida's version of the Welfare Drug Testing Law. Georgia is waiting to see how it plays out there first.

Debbie Seagraves, Executive Director of the Georgia ACLU says the federal judge struck down Florida's law because it is unconstitutional. "If someone is buying drugs illegally, that is a police matter. This is setting aside one group of people, because they are accessing legal benefits, or because they are attempting to access legal benefits and setting a higher standard or different standard for them because they're poor and need help," said Seagraves.

But supporters argue if they have to pass a drug test to get a job in the private or civil sectors, why shouldn't those receiving government benefits?

"Yeah, I think drug screening is not too much to ask to get the privilege to have food stamps," said taxpayer Steve Auman.

Christine Challet agrees. She's homeless in Atlanta and survives on food stamps. "I'm trying to get out of this cycle of benefits but, food stamps is great for me right now," said Challet. She says she doesn't want those who abuse the program, to ruin it for her.

Representative Morris admits he's not sure if the bill will get signed into law, but he says it's worth trying.

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