The bill is a political response to legislative proposals filed by conservative lawmakers in both the state House and state Senate that would subject applicants for public assistance to drug testing.
Rep. Holcomb appeared on CNN this morning to explain the bill. It’s worth watching the full clip but Rep. Holcomb makes two points that I think are worth highlighting.
First, he points out that Georgia’s conservative leadership seems to be on empty when it comes to good ideas.
“Not only does the GOP not have any good ideas, they steal bad ideas from other states,” the lawmaker said. The bill to require public assistance applicants to pay for their own drug tests is a copy and past job from several other conservative states.
Speaking directly to the heart of the matter, Rep. Holcomb points out that those harmed by this law would be Georgia’s poorest children, not the adults who have made bad decisions.
“[The family assistance program] is designed to help the neediest of our needy families,” Holcomb said. “Those that oppose it, it’s almost as if many of them are saying food is a luxury item. Which clearly it’s not.”
Georgia’s public assistance program is available only to the state’s poorest residents. A typical family supported with the assistance would be a working mother with two children who earns about $784 per month, or just $26 per day. Rep. Holcomb points out that the $26 per day pays for housing, electricity and food.
Do yourself a favor and watch the three-minute video from CNN.