Judge Blocks Drug-Testing of Welfare Recipients

Judge Blocks Drug-Testing of Welfare Recipients
Posted by FoM on November 10, 1999 at 11:43:50 PT
By Joseph Altman Jr., Associated Press
Source: Fox News
DETROIT A federal judge today temporarily blocked the state's new requirement that welfare applicants be tested for drugs, saying it appears to be unconstitutional. 
The drug testing, part of a pilot program that began Oct. 1 in a handful of communities, requires most applicants to provide urine samples for drug screening before they can even be considered for benefits. No one who tests positive for drugs will be denied food stamps or assistance checks, and police won't be notified. But offenders who don't go to state-ordered treatment risk the gradual loss of benefits. A group of welfare recipients and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan had asked U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts to issue the temporary restraining order. Ms. Roberts said that requiring the tests without suspicion "is likely unconstitutional.'' The ACLU had argued that the requirement was an "unreasonable search'' in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The program does not apply to Medicaid, disability, emergency or other state assistance programs. So far, 8 percent of welfare applicants in the pilot communities have tested positive for drugs, primarily marijuana, according to the Family Independence Agency, which administers welfare in Michigan. "We're doing this ... to assist families and remove barriers to employment,'' said agency spokeswoman Maureen Sorbet. "Generally, we've had a favorable reaction. Many (recipients) have said it's about time and they are willing to demonstrate they don't have a problem in this area.'' The judge scheduled a Dec. 14 hearing on arguments on whether to grant class-action status or a preliminary injunction against the testing program. The state attorney general's office contends there is a legal basis for testing welfare recipients, especially when the safety of children is an issue. "It is self-evident that children of drug-addicted parents often exhibit aggressive behavior in and out of school, are more likely to themselves abuse drugs and be victimized by child abuse and neglect,'' the agency said in court documents. Published: November 10, 1999comments newsdigital.comę 1999, News America Digital Publishing, Inc. Related Articles:Random Drug Testing School District's Decision - 11/09/99 Testing Takes a Hit - 11/05/99 Tests Welfare Recipients for Drugs - 11/04/99 Czar Nullifies Need For Drug Test - 11/04/99 ACLU Report Debunks Workplace Urine Testing - 9/14/99 To Sue Over Student Drug Testing - 8/18/99 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: