An administrator for the Department of Agriculture sent a letter to Georgia's attorney general, warning him that federal law doesn't allow for the state to require food stamp recipients to subject themselves to drug tests.
The letter came on the heels of passage of a new state law requiring those who accept food stamps and are subsequently suspected of using drugs to be tested, Reuters reported. Those who fail face losing their benefits.
Robin Bailey, the department's regional administrator, didn't specify in the letter what could happen if the state didn't turn from implementing its new law.
Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens didn't issue any comment about the letter. But Republican Rep. Greg Morris, who sponsored the bill that became law, said he stood by it as a sensible provision to protect taxpayers.
"Some bureaucrat in the Obama administration shouldn't be dictating policy in the state of Georgia," he told Reuters. "We should implement the law. I believe it's constitutional."
Debbie Seagraves, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Georgia, said her group was prepared to defend any person who was forced by the new law to take a test.
"If they require a drug test of anybody, we are open to represent that person in court," Ms. Seagraves said, Reuters reported.
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