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The ACLU of North Carolina sent a letter to its members and suporters today asking them to urge their state representatives and senators to uphold Gov. McCrory’s veto of controversial drug testing legislation. This is from the letter:

“In announcing his veto, Gov. McCrory called H.B. 392 ‘a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion … that is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.’ We agree.

H.B. 392 does nothing to rehabilitate people who test positive for drugs. But it would open the door to costly and unnecessary government intrusions into the physical privacy of North Carolinians who need public assistance to care for their families. It would also force people in need to pay up front for their urine test, likely deterring many families from even applying.

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. Forcing North Carolinians who need public assistance to care for their families to pay up front for an invasive test without reasonable suspicion of drug use would be cruel, costly, and constitutionally suspect.”

The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene next Tuesday September 3 to consider the veto.

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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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Just released:sb594

Mandatory drug testing of Work First applicants, recipients would be costly, ineffective, and likely illegal
New report finds universal drug testing could cost North Carolina as much as $2.3 million

RALEIGH (April 22, 2013) — North Carolina lawmakers are currently pursuing legislation that would require mandatory drug testing of all Work First applicants and recipients. Such actions would be costly, likely illegal, and ineffective at identifying and treating drug abuse, a new report finds.

North Carolina’s Work First program assists extremely low-income families in getting on the path to self-sufficiency. Suspicionless mandatory drug testing for Work First families, as proposed by Senate Bill 594, would place additional financial burdens on struggling families who receive assistance, not to mention the whole of North Carolina, according to a new report from the North Carolina Justice Center. Read More

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 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