The U.S. Department of Agriculture is none too pleased with a new Georgia law stipulating mandatory drug testing for some recipients of food stamps in the state, and declared it in violation of federal law on Tuesday.
The Georgia law only mandates that those recipients who are suspected of drug abuse by case workers are subject to drug testing, but that did not dissuade the USDA from condemning the legislation.
“FNS policy prohibits States from mandating drug testing of SNAP applicants and recipients,” the June 3 USDA statement reads. “Requiring SNAP applicants and recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits would constitute an additional condition of eligibility, and therefore, is not allowable under law.”
The bill was signed into law in April by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. The sponsor of the legislation, Republican State Rep. Greg Morris, said that the bill is intended to curb the waste of taxpayer dollars.
“The most important thing that we do up here at the capitol is protecting tax payers’ dollars. Make sure they’re spent wisely and I can’t think of anything more egregious than for people’s tax payer dollars to be used to subsidize drug abuse,” Morris said in February after proposing the bill.
Similar attempts to base government aid on drug testing have also met federal opposition. Florida’s broader attempt to require drug testing for welfare recipients was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.