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Deal OKs bill requiring drug testing for welfare benefits

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation that would require some people applying for welfare in Georgia to pass a drug test before they could get benefits.

The bill passed the Legislature along partisan lines, with Democrats balking at the proposal as an unfair burden on the poor.

Under the bill, anyone who tests positive for drug use could not apply for welfare for one month and until they test clean. A third violation could prevent someone from applying for benefits for a year. They would also have to pass another drug test before reapplying.

The results from the tests couldn't be used to criminally prosecute people.

Courts have struck down similar laws in other states, although supporters in Georgia expressed confidence that the law here could withstand a legal challenge.