Who’s Protecting Who

Athens, GA – Another piece of legislation is ruffling people’s feathers.

House Bill 772, proposed by Greg Morris of Vadalia, mandates those suspected of using drugs to take a drug test before receiving food stamps. The bill is modeled after a same type of bill in Florida. That bill required all recipients of welfare to be drug tested but that was later overturned as unconstitutional and amended.

That isn’t sitting well with one Athens food stamp recipient, who says “legislating human behavior is not what the government is for.” Suzanne Hightower has received food stamps throughout her life, once when she was a single mom raising her daughter and now in her retirement. She feels as if this bill is “hilarious.” She says there is such a disconnect between the people working in the government and those who live like she does. “I’d like to have the person who proposed this bill live for a year on the income I have and then ask them…how was that for you and your family?” she says.

Greg Morris proposed this bill with one intention: to protect tax payers dollars. He wanted “to make sure that tax payers dollars are not being used for subsidized drug abuse.” He says that since working Georgians have to take drug tests to get their jobs, “it’s fair for those [to take a drug test] who are asking for tax payers dollars to subsidize them.”

But Hightower doesn’t think it is very fair because she says that this shouldn’t be a way to judge if people should or shouldn’t get food stamps. She feels like she needs to speak for and protect those in her shoes, those who have to live off of food stamps and who don’t have another choice.

Morris and Hightower both agree that they would take a drug test if they needed to. Morris says he “has no problem taking one”, and Hightower says she’d take one “every day.” At least they agree on that.

The bill is on the Rules Committee Calendar and there is no set date as to when it will be read on the House Floor.

Alexa Knowles, reporting.

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