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The Daily Tar Heel
View from the Hill

Drug testing veto explained

Gov. Pat McCrory is calling a special session of the N.C. General Assembly to sustain his vetoes on two bills, including one that would have required drug testing for welfare recipients.

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenberg, said in a statement the bill would crack down on waste and fraud in the welfare system.

But in an online video, McCrory criticized the bill, saying it would be an example government overstepping its boundaries.

“While that concept may sound good, it’s fundamentally unfair and an overreaching government intrusion,” McCrory said.

McCrory also said the bill was fiscally irresponsible for not including funding for testing. Certain states have begun experimenting with drug testing in some form. But since being implemented, some have found the costs of testing.

Two of the more prominent examples are the following:

  • Utah’s Department of Work Services spent more than $30,000 to administer drug tests to welfare recipients, with only 12 people testing positive for drug use.
  • After Florida passed drug testing in 2011, only 108 of the 4,086 failed. Potential users were required to pay an average of $30 and if they were found not to be using drugs were reimbursed, costing the state $118,140.
  • Furthermore, there are legal challenges to the bill, as Florida’s law was found unconstitutional in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

As a result, McCrory has called for a special session of the state legislature to sustain his vetoes. He will need three-fifths to sustain his vetoes, which could prove difficult considering the original resolution passed 92-21 in the House of Representatives and 42-4 in the Senate, more than needed to override a veto in both Houses.

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