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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Drug Testing

By Mike Meno, ACLU-NC Communications Director

Early results of a new law that allows North Carolina to drug test people who apply for Work First, a program that provides temporary assistance to needy families, confirm what the ACLU-NC and others argued at the time of the bill’s passage: it is a wasteful and unnecessary government invasion of vulnerable people’s privacy.

The law was originally passed in 2013, over the veto of Gov. Pat McCrory, who called the measure “a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion” that “is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.”

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RALEIGH – The North Carolina Senate today voted to override Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of H.B. 392, a bill that requires some applicants to the state’s Work First program for families in need to pay up front for and submit to drug tests as a precondition of aid. The state House voted to override the veto yesterday, meaning H.B. 392 will now become law.

In announcing his veto, Gov. McCrory called H.B. 392 “a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion ... that is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.”

Sarah Preston, Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), which strongly opposed the bill and urged the legislature to sustain the governor’s veto, released the following statement:

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ACLU-NC Applauds Governor's Veto of Drug Testing Bill

Posted on in Privacy

RALEIGH –North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory today vetoed H.B. 392, a measure that would have required applicants to the state’s Work First program to submit to costly and invasive drug tests. Gov. McCrory called the measure “a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion” that “is not a smart way to combat drug abuse.”

Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, released the following statement:

“We applaud the governor’s veto of a measure that would have opened the door to costly and unnecessary government intrusions into the physical privacy of North Carolinians who need public assistance to care for their families. Our state and federal constitutions protect the privacy and dignity of all North Carolinians against unreasonable searches, and all available evidence has shown that welfare applicants are no more likely to use drugs than the general public. In fact, the evidence suggests that their rate of drug use is lower than that of the general public. Forcing people in need to pay up front for an invasive test without reasonable suspicion of drug use would have been cruel, costly, and constitutionally suspect. We are very pleased the governor has rejected this measure.”

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RALEIGH – Today the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), the North Carolina Justice Center, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice sent a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, asking him to veto H.B. 392, legislation that would require some applicants to the state’s Work First program, which provides temporary support for families as they work toward self-sufficiency, to pay up front for and submit to urine tests before receiving public assistance.

During a press conference on Friday, Gov. McCrory said he had “major concerns” about H.B. 392’s “fair application” and was considering a veto.

The bill “represents a government intrusion into the physical privacy of a select group of North Carolinians merely because they have fallen on hard times,” the letter states. “The privacy and dignity of all North Carolinians are protected by restrictions on unreasonable searches in both our federal and state constitutions, especially searches as invasive as those proposed in this bill.”

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