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Posted: March 22, 2012 2:16 p.m.

Welfare recipients could get drug tested

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia lawmakers are debating whether some people should be exempt from a proposal that would force those applying for welfare to take drug tests.

The House Judiciary Civil Committee voted this week to exempt women living in domestic violence shelters from the tests. Some of those women receive welfare payments directly. Others benefit indirectly from welfare money that supports the shelters.

Lawmakers said they expect the differing versions will be worked out in a conference committee.

Budget officials estimate the cost of one drug testing proposal from Sen. John Albers would result in anywhere from a financial loss of $84,500 to a savings of $103,000.

Rep. Michael Harden said his bill would not cost the state money. State officials said they would need to spend roughly $200,000 to implement it.

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