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: