The war on welfare is in full swing in Georgia, with a new program currently underway revoking unemployment benefits from recipients who test positive for drugs during their job search.
Unlike the many programs proposed in various states actively and directly testing people on unemployment, food stamps or other forms of assistance, the Georgia program relies on potential employers to cheese on hiring prospects that don’t test clean on a drug screen.
Many measures proposing government drug testing of people who receive benefits of some description have been rightfully challenged under Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search or seizure without probable cause, but outcry from citizens and lawmakers who are not overly concerned with what the Bill of Rights says about privacy remains intense as the cost of programs meant to keep families afloat during times of economic hardship are viewed as an unreasonable burden on budgets.
The new initiative in Georgia is a “novel” approach as a backdoor workaround of the rights violation, reports the AP, and a state labor official spoke to the news agency about the drug testing unemployment measure being “quietly” implemented in Georgia:
“‘The commissioner feels it is unconscionable for people to defraud the system when so many people need it,’ said Tom Krause, a spokesman for Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.
“That logic also has been used to support drug tests for welfare recipients. Georgia has passed such a law, and a similar law in Florida has for now been blocked by a federal judge who cited constitutional concerns.”
The agency points out that the policy may skirt drug laws by merit of the fact those using drugs are making themselves ineligible and thus unavailable to work, one of the required terms for unemployment eligibility.