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Bill Creates New Systemic Barrier To Overcoming Homelessness:Assumes Poor Are Drug Users

The Georgia House Judiciary Committee will consider a bill - HB 861 - which would create another systemic barrier towards recovering from homelessness, and have a devastating effect on Georgia's low-income families and the unemployed. Under the provisions of the bill, applicants and current recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) must first pass a drug test to be eligible to receive the support.

What The Bill Does

* HB 861 requires Health and Human Services to drug test all applicants for TANF benefits. Those who fail the drug test are denied benefits.

* HB 861 also requires random drug testing of current recipients of TANF benefits. Those who fail the drug test lose their benefits.

* HB 861 requires law enforcement to report to the Department of Human Services the names of all persons over the age of 18 arrested of a drug-related offense. Persons on the list who receive TANF lose their benefits.

* HB 861 requires applicants and recipients of TANF to pay for the drug test.

What You Can Do

Please contact the following members of the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 861. Sample wording for an email is below.

Wendell Willard, 404.656.5125, wendell.willard@house.ga.gov
Michael Harden, 404.656.0188, michael@voteharden.com
Mike Jacobs, 404.656.0152, georgiamike@comcast.net
Stephen Allison, 404.656.0188, stephen.allison@house.ga.gov
Rich Golick, 404.656.5943, rich.golick@house.ga.gov
Joe Wilkinson, 404.463.8143, joe@joewilkinson.org
Rick Crawford, 404.656.0265, rick.crawford@house.ga.gov
Mark Hatfield, 404.656.0109, mhatfield@wayxcable.com
Roger B. Lane, 404.656.5087, rogerlane167@hotmail.com
Billy Maddox, 404.656.3947, billy.maddox@house.ga.gov
Doug McKillip, 404.656.0177, doug@dougmckillip.com
Randy Nix, 404.656.0177, randy.nix@house.ga.gov
Mary Margaret Oliver, 404.656.0265, mmo@mmolaw.com
Pam Stephenson, 404.656.0126, pam.stephenson@house.ga.gov
Roger Bruce, 404.656.0314, rbruce5347@aol.com
Elly Dobbs, 404.656.7859, elly.dobbs@house.ga.gov
Stacey Evans, 404.656.6372, stacey@staceyevans.org
Edward Lindsey, 404.656.5024, edward.lindsey@house.ga.gov
Larry O'Neal, 404.656.5052, larry.oneal@house.ga.gov
Jay Powell, 404.656.7146, jay.powell@house.ga.gov
Andrew J. Welch, 404.656.0109, awelch@swblawfirm.com
Tom Weldon, 404.656.0152, tom.weldon@house.ga.gov

Sample Wording for Email

I am writing to ask you to vote NO on HB 861which requires drug testing for applicants and recipients of TANF, and also requires that law enforcement provide the Department of Human Services with the names of all persons who are arrested on drug-related offenses.

This bill creates additional hurdles for parents who are trying to do the right thing and provide for their children. Some of these parents are one paycheck away from being homeless. Others are working hard to recover from homeless. Many of them work endless hours to make ends meet, but still need assistance to provide for their families.

HB 861 assumes that because they are poor, or unemployed, they are likely to be drug users. It places an additional burden upon parents who are already struggling by requiring that they have money to pay for a drug test, and that they have transportation to get to the testing centers. Many of them are hourly employees who don't get paid when they don't work.

By voting NO on HB 861, you continue to make available a much needed safety net for our Georgia families who are the most vulnerable and who are trying to do the right thing.

Thank you.

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