U.S. law blocks Georgia law over food stamp drug tests

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A new Georgia law requiring some food stamp recipients to take a drug test is being stopped in its tracks.

Governor Nathan Deal signed the bill in April, but now we're learning U.S. law says that's not allowed.

Monica Bussey fills up her car with groceries to bring home for her and her little girl. She, like so many other single mothers, are on food stamps and said it's the only thing that's helping her survive.

"I do get them, but it's very little. It's hard coming to the grocery store. You're always on a budget and the price of food is going up and up everyday," Bussey said.

Monica said she's on food stamps and works, but it's still hard to make ends meet.

"If you work a certain amount of hours they cut your food stamps down to like none survival," Bussey said.

She agrees with the Governor's bill that would require drug test for people on food stamps if there's a suspicion of drug use.

"If you are out here working hard its no problem for them to take a drug test and pass with flying colors. I mean if I got drug tested for it I would pass," Bussey said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a letter to state leaders earlier this week saying federal rules don't allow the state to create more eligibility standards. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens sent the governor a similar letter Friday, agreeing with the USDA.

"They shouldn't do. They shouldn't do it," said Sheila Wheeler. "You got people who need it. Why now do they want to come up with something like that."

A similar thing happened in Florida. They also proposed a drug test for food stamp recipients, but it was ruled unconstitutional by federal courts.

"It will eliminate a lot of people from misusing them and it will benefit those who really really do need them," Bussey said.

"It will hurt a lot of people because people need to eat," said Wheeler.

Almost 2 million Georgians are on food stamps. Last year it cost tax payers $224 million.

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