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Senate panel approves House drug testing bill

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Posted: Jun 15, 2011 4:11 PM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: baton rouge, senate, committee, metairie, labruzzo, lawmaker, drug, testing, welfare, wbrz, louisiana

BATON ROUGE - A Senate committee has approved a Metairie lawmaker's proposal to require drug testing of welfare recipients, despite concerns the bill may be unconstitutional.

Republican John LaBruzzo says the courts should decide whether it will be overturned, similar to a program in Florida. At issue is whether the proposal authorizes search and seizure without probable cause.

LaBruzzo says random drug testing would help break the cycle of addiction among welfare recipients.

Critics question the merit of targeting that group, saying drug use among welfare recipients is no greater than among the general population. The state already screens welfare applicants for drug use through an interview-based evaluation.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted 5-2 Wednesday to advance the bill to the full Senate. The House already has passed the proposal.

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