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NC Senate OKs drug screening for public benefits (video)

The NC Senate gave final approval Monday to legislation requiring drug tests for those seeking Work First benefits  such as food stamps, small cash grants, or job training.

Macon County Senator Jim Davis told his colleagues the bill was intended to identify those parents with a drug problem and direct them to help. Those applying for assistance would be required to pay for their own drug test under Davis’ bill.

Guilford County Senator Gladys Robinson attempted to amend the bill to require annual drug testing for elected officials, including legislators and the Governor.

But Henderson County Senator Tom Apodaca used a parliamentary maneuver -  a substitute amendment – to enable the Republican-controlled Senate to avoid even voting on Robinson’s proposal.

In the end, Senate Bill 594 passed 35-15 and now moves to the NC House for consideration.

A report released Monday by the NC Justice Center finds suspicionless drug testing of public assistance applicants and recipients likely violates the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure. Other states that required testing without reasonable suspicion have been deemed unconstitutional, according to the report.

To hear a portion of Monday evening’s debate click below:

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9 Comments

  1. Frances Jenkins

    April 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

    How could it be possible to be illegal/unconstitutionally to ask people to take a drug test to receive benefits? This is crazy.

  2. david esmay

    April 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

    You’re right Frances, all legislators and the Governor should be drug tested and submit to psychological evaluations.

  3. Jeremy S.

    April 23, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Apparently, the Golden Rule is for suckers who don’t belong to the majority in our state senate. Yet another example that NCGA is run by bullies.

  4. Chris

    April 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    How is it tyranny for people to submit to background checks before buying guns, Frances?

    The War on Drugs is unconstitutional and a waste of resources. That being said the reason people qualify for public benefits has nothing to do with their use or abuse of drugs, legal or not. It is a costly and pointless venture to do these tests because it doesn’t change the fact that the individual qualifies by being unemployed or underemployed. You could blame drugs or you could blame the broken country the Boomers are running into the ground. Either way, Boomers are to blame, but blame fixes nothing, and neither will drug testing.

  5. Doug

    April 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    It is not tyrrany to submit to background checks, it happens. All of my gun purchases have had a check involved other than the shotguns.

    So how is it tyrrany to submt to a background check for your government handout to be sure you are not doing something illegal before you get your cash?

  6. Chris

    April 23, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Doug, I already answered that question. However, I’ll agree with david esmay, that if you are going to force drug tests/background checks on any group to take government money then you should force ALL groups that benefit from government money to submit to drug testing (or background checks, since you decided to switch to that), which would include every elected official (preferably starting with the legislative branches), bureaucrat, service member and their beneficiaries, and any corporation/business that happily laps up taxpayer money.

  7. Frances Jenkins

    April 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    I think Gladys was cut off at the pass by Apodaca. This was not too smart on the part of Gladys. Tax money for drug dealers, not a good mix Democrats.

  8. Doug

    April 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Chris, You actaully did not answer my question. I am in agreement with dave for once. I could support more checks to be sure we are not contributing to leftist and communist causes.

  9. jlp75

    April 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Oh my Doug McCarthy is at it again. What a scary world you must live in where the reds are jumping out from behind every bush. Look out, I think there is one behind you.