Applause for veto of mandatory drug testing bill

In case you missed it, civil rights groups have applauded the Governor’s decision to veto legislation that would have imposed a mandatory drug testing regimen on applicants for public assistance.

This is from the ACLU of NC:

“North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory today vetoed H.B. 392, a measure that would have required applicants to the state’s Work First program to submit to costly and invasive drug tests. Gov. McCrory called the measure ‘a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion’ that ‘is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.’

Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, released the following statement:

‘We applaud the governor’s veto of a measure that would have opened the door to costly and unnecessary government intrusions into the physical privacy of North Carolinians who need public assistance to care for their families. Our state and federal constitutions protect the privacy and dignity of all North Carolinians against unreasonable searches, and all available evidence has shown that welfare applicants are no more likely to use drugs than the general public. In fact, the evidence suggests that their rate of drug use is lower than that of the general public. Forcing people in need to pay up front for an invasive test without reasonable suspicion of drug use would have been cruel, costly, and constitutionally suspect. We are very pleased the governor has rejected this measure.’

On July 31, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), the North Carolina Justice Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice sent a letter to Gov. McCrory, asking him to veto the bill.

In 2011, a Florida law that mandated drug tests for all applicants of the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was halted just months after it went into effect after the ACLU of Florida challenged the law and a federal court ruled the program unconstitutional. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals later unanimously upheld that decision.

In the four months that Florida’s law was in place, the state drug-tested 4,086 TANF applicants, and only 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive for illegal drugs — more than three times less than the 8.13 percent of all Floridians, age 12 and up, estimated by the federal government to use illegal drugs. ”

And this is from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice:

“We commend Governor McCrory for vetoing a measure that would have allowed the intrusive, expensive and unnecessary invasions of physical privacy of thousands of North Carolina citizens who, through no fault of their own, need government assistance to feed their families. Moreover, the governor was correct in his analysis that the law could lead to inconsistent application and disparate outcomes, thereby violating principles of equal protection and application of the laws, foundational concepts of both our state and federal constitutions. Fortunately for the citizens of North Carolina the governor saw the measure for what it was—an unjustified, unreasonable burden on people, who happen to be going through a tough financial time, which was surely to have a disparate impact on communities of color. We commend the governor for having the courage to stand up to the extreme elements of his party.”

4 Comments

  1. Carolina Cannabis Coalition

    August 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Deaths In The United States From Various Drugs Per Centers For Disease Control:

    Excessive alcohol consumption is known to kill about 79,000 people in the United States each year.

    Cigarettes: More than 440,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

    Prescription Painkillers: Opioids were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined.

    Cannabis: ZERO.

    So why are the authorities testing citizens for the safest drug: marijuana?

  2. Frances Jenkins

    August 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I cannot believe Blueprint/Bluepoint released to make this comment. You need to check again with Goodmon to get permission to make this kind of statement. Evil roams and you guys are the captains.

  3. Will E.

    August 19, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    I disagree with the Governor on this one. Job applicants have to undergo drug testing. Why shouldn’t public assistance applicants have to do the same to get freebies from MY taxes??

  4. Former DHHS worker

    August 20, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Frances, are you familar with the inaccuracies of these drug tests?