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NC Senate to debate welfare drug testing bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

A bill mandating drug testing for welfare recipients and applicants is scheduled for debate on the floor of the North Carolina Senate.

The measure to be taken up Thursday would require applicants and recipients to undergo a drug screening at their own expense to receive benefits from the state's Work First program, which provides cash assistance and job training through federal aid.

Successful applicants and current recipients who are reapplying would be reimbursed for the cost of testing.

The measure has cleared two Senate committees but has faced criticism from Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups that argue the bill unfairly targets a group of people that have shown no greater incidence of drug use. A federal court recently struck down a similar Florida requirement.

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