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Albers Hopes Drug Testing Legislation Will Provide 'Accountability'

Roswell's Sen. John Albers will propose new legislation requiring people who receive temporary emergency funds to pass a drug test.

Roswell Sen. John Albers is concerned about where taxpayers dollars are going and he's hoping that by drug testing anyone receiving temporary government funds, the state will cut down on irresponsible spending.

"Our dependency on entitlement programs has grown at an alarming and unsustainable rate. It is time for an era of responsibility and accountability," he told Roswell Patch.

Albers, along with Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine), is proposing legislation that would require mandatory drug testing for social service recipients. They're calling it: the “Social Responsibility and Accountability Act.” It would require recipients of Medicaid and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare programs to undergo drug tests.

The measure would "ensure we are giving people a 'hand up' and not just a 'hand out,'" he said.

Despite the fact that similar legislation has met obstacles in other states like Florida, Albers said he believes it will become law in Georgia.

"We are working with the Attorney General's office here in Georgia and Florida.  We all believe the law will support drug testing," he said.

According to Albers, the welfare reform act of 1996 specifically allows for drug testing. He believes the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guards against unreasonable search and seizures, can support it.

"As a nation, we are facing some of the most challenging economic times of the past century and many Georgians are confronted with the daily reality of tightening their wallets to secure the economic stability of their families," Albers said.

But not everyone agrees with how Alber's bill will go about trying to help secure that economic stability on a state level. The American Civil Liberties Union recently told CBS Atlanta that the bill is an attempt to help fewer Georgians.

Albers and Spencer will hold a joint press conference this morning, Nov. 15, to discuss the measure more in depth.

Do you agree with Albers proposal to drug test recipients of tax dollars? Or do you think it's an invasion of privacy? Tell us in the comments below.

Dan November 15, 2011 at 01:43 PM
I can't support this: 1) Has this type of legislation ever stood higher court scrutiny? 2) I read somewhere (i.e. I can't vouch for this; anyone care to validate?) that Florida testing turned up only 2% of recipients that tested positive for drugs. Is it worth the cost? 3) Who is benefiting from this legislation? (We all know that someone is.) 4) Drug testing employees by private companies is one thing. But when the State starts its own drug testing programs, that's when I get concerned.
Mike Lowry November 15, 2011 at 03:40 PM
If someone is depending on the state for income, we definitely need to be sure the money isn't going for drugs. Our objective should be to help people become self-sufficient contributors to society, not remain dependents. If "an attempt to help fewer Georgians" means we have gotten more people off of state dependency, then I'm all for it.
Mike T November 15, 2011 at 05:11 PM
What we need here in Georgia is mandatory IQ testing for politicians. Sen. Albers' proposal is too silly to discuss seriously, but has achieved the desired effect of pandering to his well-heeled white constituency at the expense of the least fortunate among us.
janet h russell November 15, 2011 at 05:49 PM
I would like for each elected official and their families to be drug tested since they, too, receive taxpayer provided funds. I am sure we would discover a few "surprises". And of course that would include the wives and all dependents including highschool and college age students who still receive their primary income and health care from the taxpayer.
Mike Lowry November 15, 2011 at 06:35 PM
I particularly like your specific, common-sense solution to the problem of rising numbers of government dependents.
Mike T November 15, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Agreed. And what about those freeloading seniors on Social(ist) Security! If we are going to drug test poor people, we should also test Granny and her blue-haired friends who are sucking the life out of our economy by taking money from "Job Creators".
Dan November 15, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Let's not forget farmers, since they receive aid from the government. And every single government contractor will have to be tested. All military personnel too.
Mike T November 16, 2011 at 12:15 AM
And how about those "disabled" folks living on Social Security Disability Insurance? Not only do they suck precious dollars away from "Job Creators", but they seem to have a monopoly on all of the good parking spots at the supermarket! Fair is fair -- NO MORE LEECHES!!!
Joyce M November 16, 2011 at 12:26 AM
Albers has done nothing for the people of Roswell whom he represents. Aside from what he has learned by attending ice cream socials and ribbon-cutting events, he has no grasp of the real issues facing many people in our community. He has championed no meaningful legislation and appears to be focused on raising his profile among Georgia's "Tea Party" and his rich constituents. Drug tests for the poor? Really? Roswell deserves better.
Joyce M November 16, 2011 at 12:42 AM
Approximately 1 in 5 Georgians receives some kind of government support. At $10 per drug test, that is $19.6 million. Who pays for this? The state government or the poor people who need assistance? As somebody said before, this is plain silly.
Ron Jacobi November 16, 2011 at 01:05 AM
Another politician, saying whatever it takes to keep his job, rather than tackling real issues.
Dan November 16, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I also want to know which drug-testing companies are lobbying for this legislation. You know this is lining someone's pockets.
Mike Lowry November 16, 2011 at 03:09 PM
The tragedy isn't the cost, it's that 1 in 5 Georgians receives some kind of government support. We need to develop strategies that help people achieve self-sufficiency.
Christine November 16, 2011 at 03:28 PM
If the goal is really to help people achieve self-sufficiency, then the money and effort for this drug testing should be put towards programs that will actually help people be self-sufficient. Otherwise, I have to agree that anyone getting government dollars (politicians included) should be tested.
Scott Long November 17, 2011 at 06:33 PM
I don't remember a job in the past 20 years or so where I haven't been tested, so the requests above that we should test everyone are perfectly mainstream suggestions. But that is really a different category than what the proposal seems to address. Performing a service in exchange for payment as a public servant (whether that be teacher, fireman, or yes, even elected official) is not the same as stating you have no money for food and asking taxpayers to buy food for you in exchange for nothing. In the latter case, confirming that they do not turn and spend the money on expensive illegal drugs instead of food has a fundamental connection to whether they really needed it in the first place, and also has a connection to whether they can eventually work their way out of their current situation. It has been shown over and over that meeting needs at this level without asking for accountability will keep the person in a state of dependency instead of helping them out of their predicament. In fact there was an article a couple weeks ago in the Creative Loafing that addressed just that issue: http://tinyurl.com/atlshelters -- The homeless shelters that do not ask for accountability in terms of substance abuse are utter failures in changing lives when compared to the shelters that do ask for accountability.

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