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October 29, 2012

Arguments set in challenge to drug testing law

ATLANTA — A federal appeals court in Atlanta will hear arguments in a challenge to a Florida law requiring welfare applicants to pass a drug test. The ultimate outcome could affect similar efforts in other states.

Florida’s 2011 law required welfare applicants to pass a drug test to receive benefits. It was in effect from July through October last year before it was temporarily blocked by a federal judge. It had been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The judge said the law may violate the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

A similar law in Georgia is on hold until the challenge to Florida’s law is resolved.

Five other states have laws mandating screening of welfare applicants or recipients and testing of those they have reason to believe are using illegal substances.

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