Thursday, June 02, 2011

Florida To Start Drug Screening Welfare Recipients

Florida Govenor Rick Scott has signed a bill that will require anyone on welfare to pass a drug test to receive benefits. It’s something that's been considered in Georgia but never took hold. “I think a person on drugs doesn't need to take taxpayers money and buy more drugs,” said Albany citizen Pinky Modeste. It seems that a majority of southwest Georgians are in favor the bill. “If they're out applying for welfare they need to be doing the right thing. They need to be applying for jobs. They need to be living the right life,” said James Stalvey. The measure would mean people who fail a test are denied benefits for a year, a second failed test would result in a three year ban. That's the one criticism that southwest Georgians seem to have on the measure; it does too much to cut people off and not enough to rehabilitate. “That's a good idea but first give them a warning to make sure that it is from drugs,” said Roosevelt Cuffie. “I think if they refuse the welfare because of drugs they should get a time limit to get themselves in order so that they can come back and apply again,” said Modeste.There's at least one state legislator that will be paying close attention to what's going in Florida. “The main thing is to make rehab available for these people, because what’s the point in finding they have drug problems, but then not stepping up to the plate and having them remedy the problem,” said Rep. Jimmy Pruett (R- Eastman). Rep. Pruett actually introduced a similar bill in the Georgia house about three years ago. His was centered on drug testing for people getting unemployment benefits. But he says if Florida’s measure goes off without a hitch it puts more pressure on Georgia to pass a similar bill. “If that sticks and holds in Florida, honestly I’m going to tell you we have a serious problem in Georgia. Because what's going to happen is that those people in Florida who are on welfare and are abusing the system and they will just leave the state, and where will they come? To the nearest state which is Georgia, which will escalate the cost of our welfare program,” said Pruett.