published Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

ACLU of Tennessee eyes challenge to welfare drug testing

NASHVILLE — The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is looking for people interested in challenging a new law mandating drug tests for some applicants for the state’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

The law, passed in 2012, took effect Tuesday after the state Department of Human Services spent two years developing a plan for implementing the drug-testing program.

ACLU-Tennessee says the law “raises serious constitutional concerns” and had urged Gov. Bill Haslam to veto it two years ago, calling it vague, singling out a particular group for differential treatment and allowing “an intrusive search without probable cause.”

“This law singles out limited-income people and requires them to submit to humiliating and intrusive searches of their bodily fluids because they need temporary help making ends meet,” ACLU-Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said in a statement.

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