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The absurdity of drug testing public assistance applicants

Kevin Rogers, an attorney with Action NC, has an excellent opinion piece in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“For all the trouble they caused this session, N.C. General Assembly leaders lacked a certain amount of inventiveness.

Almost every bill they introduced was already being considered, or was law, somewhere else.Case in point, during the final hours in Raleigh, the General Assembly passed a foolish bill requiring those applying for public assistance to pass a drug test before they can become eligible. This unconstitutional idea has been tried before in other states, and it makes no more sense here than it did when it was first implemented, and failed miserably, in Florida. Read more

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Civil rights groups call for veto of drug testing bill

Gov. McCrory intimated during his press conference last week that he would consider vetoing legislation passed during the waning days of session that would require drug tests for public assistance applicants. Today, a trio of civil rights groups will provide him with all the ammunition he needs to do just that.

In a letter emailed yesterday and to be hand-delivered today, the ACLU of North Carolina, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the North Carolina Justice Center told the Governor that the controversial proposal “wastes State resources and infringes on the constitutional rights of those on public assistance.”

This is from the letter: Read more

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State lawmaker embarrasses himself on drug testing bill

 Tommy Tucker 2There are so many reasons that it is a ridiculous idea to require drug tests for all applicants for Work First/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or “TANF” benefits (as proposed by multiple state senators) that it’s hard to know where to begin.

It would be absurdly expensive. It would likely catch a tiny number of people. It would likely undermine the state’s ongoing successful efforts to help get people with drug abuse problems into treatment. It is also absurdly unfair to pick only on TANF recipients — Why not all college students? Or all legislators? Or all recipients of economic incentive giveaways?

But here’s another and less debatable reason: It’s unconstitutional.  Last month, the Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta unanimously struck down a Florida law that is the basis of the North Carolina proposal.

According to the court: Read more