SCSJ commends Governor's veto of drug testing bill

Southern Coalition for Social Justice Commends Governor’s Veto of Drug Testing Bill

On August 15 2013, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory vetoed H.B. 392, a measure that would have required applicants to the state’s Work First program to submit to intrusive and expensive drug tests. Governor McCrory said the measure “could lead to inconsistent application across the state’s 100 counties.  That’s a recipe for government overreach and unnecessary government intrusion.” On July 31, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), and the North Carolina Justice Center sent a letter to Gov. McCrory, asking him to veto the bill.

Daryl V. Atkinson, attorney with Southern Coalition for Social Justice, released the following statement.
“We commend Governor McCrory for vetoing a measure that would have allowed the intrusive, expensive and unnecessary invasions of physical privacy of thousands of North Carolina citizens who, through no fault of their own, need government assistance to feed their families. Moreover, the governor was correct in his analysis that the law could lead to inconsistent application and disparate outcomes, thereby violating principles of equal protection and application of the laws, foundational concepts of both our state and federal constitutions. Fortunately for the citizens of North Carolina the governor saw the measure for what it was—an unjustified, unreasonable burden on people, who happen to be going through a tough financial time, which was surely to have a disparate impact on communities of color. We commend the governor for having the courage to stand up to the extreme elements of his party.”

People wait in line for Work First assistance
People wait in line for Work First assistance

In 2011, a Florida law that mandated drug tests for all applicants of the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program was halted just months after it went into effect after the ACLU of Florida challenged the law and a federal court ruled the program unconstitutional. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals later unanimously upheld that decision.