The measure, which passed 35-15, now goes to the House.
There are currently 21,124 people in North Carolina enrolled in WorkFirst, a program that provides cash payments to people looking for jobs. It is targeted to the parents of young children.
“Every kid in North Carolina deserves to live in a drug-free home,” said Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon, the bill’s sponsor.
Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, said the bill violates the U.S. Constitution because it calls for a blanket search of people who haven’t otherwise raised suspicion.
The measure requires those seeking benefits to pay for the drug tests. If the tests are negative, applicants would be reimbursed for the tests. If they test positive, they would be ineligible for benefits. At an average of $100 per person for testing, the state could be liable for reimbursements of more than $2.1 million.
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