McCrory vetoes bill mandating drug testing for welfare recipient - WNCN: News, Weather

McCrory vetoes bill mandating drug testing for welfare recipients

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House Bill 392 would have required drug screening and testing for recipients of Work First program assistance. House Bill 392 would have required drug screening and testing for recipients of Work First program assistance.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed a bill Thursday that would have mandated drug testing for welfare recipients, while preserving a portion of the legislation requiring background checks.

House Bill 392 would have required drug screening and testing for recipients of Work First program assistance. The bill also required the Department of Social Services to verify if a recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Food and Nutrition Services benefits is a fleeing felon or a parole violator.

While McCrory vetoed the bill as a whole, he signed an executive order to implement the portion of the legislation requiring criminal history verification.

"While I support the efforts to ensure that fugitive felons are not on public assistance rolls, and to share information about them with law enforcement, other parts of this bill are unfair, fiscally irresponsible and have potential operational problems," McCrory said Thursday.

McCrory said the portion of the legislation requiring the DSS to verify if a recipient is a fleeing felon or a parole violator is a "common-sense safeguard."

However, McCrory pointed to welfare drug testing programs in Utah and Arizona as examples of the mandate proving to be "expensive and ineffective at catching drug abusers."

"This is not a smart way to combat drug abuse," McCrory said. "Similar efforts in other states have proved to be expensive for taxpayers and did little to actually help fight drug addiction."

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird (D-District 23) argued the bill was a means to "punish people who are not successful by their standards."

She said the bill was "unfair" since only certain people would be required to be tested. Those people would be determined by who the Department of Social Services reasonably suspects are using drugs.

McCrory said the drug testing would have "lead to inconsistent application across the state's 100 counties."

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