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Drug-testing for food stamp recipients passes late Senate hurdle

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Readers: Much of our website is experiencing technical difficulties, but your Political Insider remains up and running. So for the time being, all your state Capitol news – from the entire AJC crew – can be found here.

By Ariel Hart

A bill headed for the governor’s desk would require recipients of food stamps and welfare to undergo drug tests and pay for them, if a Department of Human Services worker suspected their “demeanor” or in other circumstances. On its final step through the Legislature HB 772 passed the House 100-67.

Gov. Nathan Deal has signed an even broader such bill in the past, but that law got stuck over legal concerns.

HB 772 prompted heated, lengthy debate Thursday, mostly from Democrats who decried it as ill-reasoned, mean, financially irresponsible and unconstitutional. The Republicans who sponsored it, Greg Morris of Vidalia and Don Balfour of Snellville, said it was a reasonable request to make of those who receive state money, when so many job applicants have to take drug tests too.

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