Buddy Carter looks to drug test recipients of unemployment benefits

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter is reviving a fight over drug testing that could have major implications in Georgia.

The Pooler Republican introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Thursday that would let states screen unemployment insurance applicants for drug use if they so choose.

“Unemployment Insurance recipients should be drug-free and ready to reenter the workforce and my legislation works to make that happen,” Carter said in a statement.

Under Carter’s legislation, an applicant would be denied unemployment benefits for 30 days if they test positive for drug use. A second positive test would bar people from receiving the federal perk for the rest of the year.

Carter’s bill could prompt renewed debate over the ethics of drug testing the impoverished in Georgia.

Gov. Nathan Deal in 2014 signed a bill that would have drug tested some recipients of welfare and food stamps, one of the strictest of its kind. At the time he also hinted he would like to extend the screenings to applicants of unemployment benefits.

But Deal’s food stamps initiative was thrown into limbo amid a federal legal fight over a similar law in Florida. Then-Attorney General Sam Olens later argued that federal law barred Georgia from drug testing people on food stamps.

Carter, who was in the state Senate during Deal’s food stamp push in 2014, introduced similar legislation related to unemployment benefits in the U.S. House in 2015. It won the support of four other Georgia Republican lawmakers but never advanced through the Republican-controlled House. A similar effort to drug test food stamp recipients was also side-stepped by the GOP Congress.

Earlier this year, Congress passed and President Donald Trump later signed a bill undoing an Obama-era rulemaking that forbade the drug testing of most unemployment applicants. Their effort was seen as an opening that could later allow states to screen for drug use among applicants.

Reader Comments 0

412 comments
John Graves
John Graves

Why not just make them work for their benefits instead? Make then clean city streets and parks, paint and clean government buildings, maintain right of ways, cut grass around government buildings...

Red Reb
Red Reb

Expand that to include SNAP recipients as well.

Mara Aed
Mara Aed

Common!! You pay it for 2 months only, and they paid into the funds! I don't care to test them, i want people on welfare that come rob our houses to get drug tested

Mehmet Caglayan
Mehmet Caglayan

How about any person.. all members of any institution .. all agencies all organizations all branches of government that receives tax payer money including police departments fire departments.. Mayor council members.. Exxon Mobil employees.. every single one.. every Church leaders every member of any church that is tax exempt... All should be drug tested every time they receive a tax break.. tax cut.. government contract.. usage of government sources.. why only pcik on poor people? Let's share the love...

Johnnie Myers
Johnnie Myers

He should take a drug test. This is so ridiculous.

Kahrin Bennett
Kahrin Bennett

Florida tried this. It was a huge waste of money. And then their congressman was proven to be taking cocaine. When will we stop humiliating and harassing those that go without?

Sharron Sue Hughes
Sharron Sue Hughes

Waste of time & money. Use. It on congress for their benefits & pay.

Marie Carder
Marie Carder

I believe the congress, the senate and the president should be drug tested monthly. Governors and anyone applying for a government job should be drug tested!!!

Robert Altshuler
Robert Altshuler

Proven to be a huge waste of Tax Payer Money! That is a GOP idea that has been utilized several times in several States. \U0001f629 Another way the GOP burns through our Tax Money.

Todd Daniel
Todd Daniel

Only a waste because of bad implementation.

Robert Altshuler
Robert Altshuler

Todd Daniel And your suggestion is....? It's easy to criticize isn't it? Opinions by the uniformed are only wasted words. If you really care, and this is for everyone, education, not misinformation or hear say does nothing to help or fix!

Richard Weekley
Richard Weekley

Why don't we drug test politicians? They're government employees!

Paul Simon
Paul Simon

Other states that tried this found that the cost far exceeded the benefit.... But I think it was more about making an ideological statement than solving a real-world problem

Kahrin Bennett
Kahrin Bennett

Todd Daniel you keep posting that, and lobbying for yourself, by I somehow don't think you know what you're talking about. You seem to be out to punish poor people rather than solve a problem (which really isn't that much of a problem)

Rick Raines
Rick Raines

I foresee many lake and vacation houses in the future for testing company CEOs.

Shirley Croft
Shirley Croft

All recipients of all government handout programs should be drug tested. This would do more for the so called war on poverty and war on drugs than anything so far.

Lotus Shoemaker
Lotus Shoemaker

They're going to find out the same thing when they tried to drug test welfare recipients: hardly no one.

Todd Daniel
Todd Daniel

Because the program is so poorly run at the state level

Lotus Shoemaker
Lotus Shoemaker

So are you saying that the state level needs changed so they can find more people? I need clarification.

Kahrin Bennett
Kahrin Bennett

Todd has posted this same comment on everything. He believes that if he Personally was doing random drug tests (bc he doesn't know they tried that in Florida on welfare recipients and it lost a ton of money and only found 2% users) he would find all those evil, drug using takers.

Lotus Shoemaker
Lotus Shoemaker

They did the same thing in Arizona and found a total of one person.

Jerry Jackson
Jerry Jackson

The Drug Companies own these P.O.S. Politicians, one and all. Millions and millions more for the Drug Companies !!!

Jerry Jackson
Jerry Jackson

Let Rep Buddy Carter take the led. Seems they are the ones doing drugs and molesting children. ........ Warning, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hasert, boozed up child molester is now free ???

Joseph Gillespie
Joseph Gillespie

I think you shouldn't have unemployment benefits, but anyone who receives such things shouldn't be spending it on drug money. There are medical practices throughout the United States who usually have a Medicare/Medicaid patient majority and use that coverage to purchase and abuse pain medicine while they are unemployed themselves and contribute nothing to society.

Joseph Gillespie
Joseph Gillespie

Robert Altshuler I am very well educated in the subject because I have read plenty. There is a way to treat addiction and it isn't by handing out free money, it isn't by incarcerating people, but by helping people through rehab and decriminalizing the drugs that the Republicans want to keep in a cartel so very much. It is a public health issue, so it should be treated as one, not as a criminal justice issue.

Joseph Gillespie
Joseph Gillespie

Robert Altshuler I never said unemployment had anything to do with illness, I was saying that people will stay unemployed because unemployment insurance subsidizes unemployment because people can choose not to work if they don't want too. They can also use that same money issued to them to go and purchase drugs to ease their problems that they wish to cover up.

Joseph Gillespie
Joseph Gillespie

Robert Altshuler I don't understand why it wouldn't be common sense to cut off access to welfare benefits if someone is not using that money to live, but rather do recreational drugs. If you cut off the money they receive you make them responsible for themselves and that is the best thing you can do for them. Giving money to a man that doesn't work just encourages the idea that you don't have to and you can live off of other people.

Gayle Weatherford Panter
Gayle Weatherford Panter

Considering unemployment benefits are at about 13 weeks now, I doubt people receiving those benefits will have a problem because they will have to take a drug test once they find a job.

Karen Robinson Moreno
Karen Robinson Moreno

These people are crazy why dont they test their mother and children they are then ones on drugs

Brenda Kirkland Sloan
Brenda Kirkland Sloan

while we are at it, let's drug test anyone who gets income as a member of the Congress and the Administration. Want to bet what the balance might be?

Gayle Weatherford Panter
Gayle Weatherford Panter

Now that SHOULD be a law! I have heard some stories about a few of our elected officials in DC.

Adolfo Gonzalez
Adolfo Gonzalez

What about CEOs getting corporate welfare , tax breaks and bailout ? Alway going after the little guys

Todd Daniel
Todd Daniel

Yes it is. It contains a chemical that modifies a persons behavior. The same as nicotine or alcohol or any other drugs.

Kahrin Bennett
Kahrin Bennett

Are they going to test for alcohol too? What about painkillers? Drugs are a big category, who will decide which drugs you loose your benefits for? Is it you Todd?

Earle Lovell
Earle Lovell

Todd Daniel, no, it is not a chemical drug ...it will certainly Change the behavior of a person having an epileptic episode. ..