Gov. Perry proposes drug testing for welfare applicants - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Perry proposes drug testing for welfare applicants

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Amarillo, TX - Texas may soon become the eighth state to mandate drug testing for welfare and unemployment recipients, which has civil libertarians crying foul.

Earlier today (Nov. 13), Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced their support for a bill written by Sen. Jane Nelson that would require TANF and unemployment applicants to pass a drug test.

The proposed system would require applicants to pay for the initial drug test (typically around $30), and those who pass would be reimbursed while those who fail would be ineligible for benefits for up to a year.

The stated purpose is to ensure taxpayer dollars are used legitimately, but civil libertarians say enacting such a law would constitute a warrantless search, which would violate the Fourth Amendment (see associated link).

Critics also point to Florida, whose one year-old program actually ended up costing the state about $46,000 (see associated link).

Supporters contend such drug testing would not only save the state money in the long run, but also would help discourage illegal drug use.

A total of seven states have passed similar legislation (see associated link), and 28 more are considering it.