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Florida Welfare Drug Testing Bill Signed Into Law

Florida welfare applicants and recipients, mostly women with children, will now have to undergo drug tests at their own expense to receive cash benefits after Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed into law a drug testing bill, HB 353, that passed the state legislature earlier this month. Scott also signed HB 1039, a law banning "bath salts," or new synthetic stimulant drugs.

Gov. Rick Scott (R) scores political points on the backs of the poor. (Image courtesy state of Florida)
More than 21,000 Floridians receiving benefits as heads of households will have to pay for and take the drug tests, as well as any new applicants. If they pass the drug test, they will be reimbursed for the cost. If they fail the drug test, they become ineligible to receive benefits for one year or until successfully completing drug treatment. Children of heads of household who test positive would still be eligible to receive benefits through a designated third party.

Scott and the Republican-controlled legislature argued that the law is necessary to stop welfare recipients from using the money to buy drugs. But opponents cited studies demonstrating that drug use is no more common among welfare recipients than among the general public.

"While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction," Scott said in a press release. "This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars."

The ACLU of Florida was quick to attack the new law. It noted that the only other state law mandating suspicionless drug testing of welfare recipients -- one in Michigan -- was overturned by the federal courts in 2003 for violating the Fourth Amendment's proscription against unwarranted searches and seizures.

"Once again, this governor has demonstrated his dismissal of both the law and the right of Floridians to personal privacy by signing into law a bill that treats those who have lost their jobs like suspected criminals," said ACLU of Florida head Howard Simon in a statement Tuesday. "The wasteful program created by this law subjects Floridians who are impacted by the economic downturn, as well as their families, to a humiliating search of their urine and body fluids without cause or even suspicion of drug abuse."

Citing the Michigan decision, Simon continued: "Surely the governor knew this, and the ACLU testified in the legislature that the bill was a significant and unnecessary invasion of privacy. The new law rests on an ugly stereotype that was disproven by the state's own earlier experimental drug-testing program," he said. "Nevertheless, their zeal to score political points on the backs of Florida's poor once again overrode their duty to uphold the Constitution. Searching the bodily fluids of those in need of assistance is a scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound policy. Today, that unsound policy is Florida law."

Wednesday the ACLU of Florida announced it was filing suit against the governor over an executive order he issued earlier this year requiring suspicionless drug testing of state employees. At the same time, it promises an announcement soon about how it plans to respond to the welfare drug testing law. 

Tallahassee, FL
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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republicans despise the poor

Ol` Scott claims that this drug testing " will prevent the misuse of tax dollars". If 21,000+ people are potential drug testees, at $35 a test and they all pass it,  21,000 x $35 =  $735,000+ . So the cost to administer this program [reimbursements] could actually increase by a million dollars.  Talk about a misuse of tax dollars. Politicians at their best.

Apparently, you missed the part about

the welfare recipients having to pay for the test themselves, the State is NOT covering the cost of the tests.  So in effect this is taking $35 out of their welfare checks (in WA State the cost was $64 5 years ago for this drug test, so $35 seems cheap to me but not likely to the welfare recipients).  I oppose government welfare, but I also oppose forcing those who are on welfare to forgo their 4th and 5th Amendment rights to receive financial help.

apparantly you didn't read the entire document

it says if the person passes the drug test they will reimburse the cost of the test.. 

 

lets ssay that each person recieves $700 (which is a GROSS overestimation),  The regular rate of failure on drug tests when the subject knows ahead of time that it's coming is less than 3%.

 

 so, if 10,000 people are forced to take this test, and 3% fail, you've spent $330,000, and gained back $233,000 for a net loss of $100,000... but this isn't the most appaling part-

 

Scott's wife has controlling intrest in one of the leading urinalysis companies in florida.  this legislation is directly designed to fill his pockets with the money of the destitute, indigent and injured among us.  This is beyond the grasp of abuse of power, and truely goes into the realm of crimes against humanity.. People spend life in prison for much less corrupt acts.

 

has Gov. Scott produced a urine sample for testing?  how would he feel if a group of citizens came storming into his mansion and took blood and hair samples because drug use in his position would constitute a 'true and real thread of danger'. 

Apparently you missed the

Apparently you missed the part about reimbursement to those who pass the test.

it is not a misuse of tax

it is not a misuse of tax dollars.  The sad truth is that out out of 21,000 welfare recipients, half of them will be tested positive for serious illegal drugs. So in fact there will not be an increase in expense the state of Florida is affording welfare recipients.  Let the numbers speak for themselves.  Watch over the next 2 years how the state of Florida reduces there annual expenses after drug users have to prove them themselves negative for illegal drugs.  What's wrong with that picture?  From a middle class, hard working (came from nothing) point of view, there is nothing wrong with this picture at all.   Signed:  a long time (came from nothing) - never received welfare tax paying American. 

Are you dumb. People will

Are you dumb. People will know to not use drug's before they go to the welfare office, most drug's come out of your system in a couple day's. So they stop using a couple day's before their scheduled welfare visit and pass.

The Fearful

You can't be serious.  Of course there will be those who will do that, but the reality is that those who are the high drug users sitting around collecting a check on tax dollars, don't really have a very high tendency to vote, read the paper, or search out local news.  Truth of the matter is that the majority of those who actually see that this is a new law, will either be too scared to apply because of it, or not worry at all because they don't use.  Any service provided by the government should always have a stipulation that one must be obedient of the law of the land, and this land has a law forbidding illicit drugs.  If they do not obey that law, they have no right to lay claim to a government sponsored and financed benefit.  Any other way to think of it is a waste of time.  Any legal objection to it is more of a waste of time and effort than the change itself is.  You....are an idiot.

Drug test.

Those who are drug free have nothing to worry about, it is those who are using illegal drugs that have plenty to worry about.

Politics as usual

So all the Alcoholics are entitled to Welfare but someone who toked a month ago is not? Once again, the problem is not the drugs it is the prohibition and the politicians that we are allowing to decide our moral compass.. 

I blame the citizens of this country that have allowed themselves to be sheep. I have been rebuked by many for my opinions, I have been denied employment because of my opinions, but I still hold firm in my belief that politicians can not, and will not, decide how I live my personal life. I believe that if any individual causes harm to another they are accountable for that harm. I believe that every inch that we allow politicians to take into our personal life creates the next inch they are intending to take. I believe that their final goal is to control the information that we take into our minds, which is part of our body, and they are setting the precedent for this control today, by controlling what we eat, drink and partake of. 

 

God save us all..

Politics as usual? Not really.

So, if a person wants to utilize government entitlements that are funded by working America, you believe they should be able to do so with no questions asked? If you went to a bank and tried to take a loan out for $100,000, they would need you to prove that you are a worthy risk.  If you aren't able to show them that you will be able to pay back the money, they'll send you right back out the door without giving you a dime. What's so wrong about the taxpayers wanting to make sure their tax dollars are only going to help the people who aren't abusing drugs?  If you want the government involved in your life as little as possible, its pretty simple. Stop depending on them to support you financially. It's sort of like that old saying, "the borrower is slave to the lender."  If you don't like the rules the lender plays by, then stop borrowing from them.

idiot at work

your a f'n idiot

Welfare Drug Testing Bill

Just like any other assistance, there is criteria that must be met for eligibility. And adding drug testing makes sense.  If you are down and out, a person should be continuously looking for employment, furthering their education to become employable, or pursuing other ways to improve skills for future employment in order to bring themselves and their family off the welfare roles.  Not idling away at home day after day, wasting their time looking for drugs instead of a job, wasting time in a drug induced state instead being productive.  Certainly having a drug abusing parent is not a positive situation for any child.  Why should hard working taxpayers continue to foot the living expenses of a drug user?

So, you are saying

it is just fine for alcoholics to get welfare but users of other drugs, specifically cannabis, cannot?  I will bet you a cannabis user is far more productive, and spends far less time in "wasting time in a drug induced state" than an alcoholic, and most of them do not need to "waste their time looking for drugs instead of a job" because they have at least one supplier with a steady supply available.  

My husband (and just about every employee of the road construction company for which he worked) used to work up to 70 hours a week while high on pot, he never missed a day of work, he was highly productive (even winning awards for his work, as did the company for their finished jobs).  He (and the other employees) had been doing that for 25 years and would have continued that practice, right up until retirement (which happened a few years ago for hubby), except the company he worked for got sold about 15 years ago, and that new owner immediately implemented drug testing so he had to quit pot because it would show up on a drug test as much as 6 weeks after use.  He started smoking it again when he retired and he's so much nicer and fun to have around, now, than during those 15 years of random drug tests.  So, obviously, use of cannabis does NOT make one unproductive, useless, or dangerous on the job, and testing for drug use is not something that should be done to anyone, not employees, not welfare recipients.  It's unconstitutional, unproductive and costly to someone, whether individual, government, or company.

well  that explains the

well  that explains the crappy roads we're all forced 2 drive on,   paying potheads 2 do half a## road work is a waste of money 2.   but i do agree with you about the booze hounds, it should be taken away from anyone who will use it 4 alcohol & drugs

You missed

the part about the company getting lots awards for the roads they built.  The roads they built and resurfaced were as close to perfect as it is possible to get, much better than the companies they bid against, beautiful roads that withstood the ravages of time, traffic and weather.

That's what I like to hear,

That's what I like to hear, people working with heavy equipment high off their asses. Ever heard of luck, hippy? I have to have a current negative urine test on file within the last two months, or I can't work. These crybabies on welfare need to stfu and get a job.

Luck? Alcohol lovers have hit the jackpot on that one

Luck? That's what we need on the highways to avoid getting killed by someone who can't handle ALCOHOL. That's what drunk driving killers usually get when they're sentenced. Countless people have been killed by someone who got their lethal dose of their drug of abuse alcohol at a commercial establishment, but boozers can gather legally at a zillion bars, and cannabis users can't gather legally in their own homes. If you want to talk about luck, let's talk.

I don't know if you are humiliated by those piss tests the prohibitionists have shoved down our throats, but I wanted to throw the stuff in their fucking faces when I submitted to that shit. That's not the traditional American way, to turn the piss of people who haven't done anything to anyone into public and employer property. To put it very mildly.

idiot at large

You are a uninformed idiot, a lot of those people are children and parents that may be temporarily injured, orr may have mental problems that society hasn't noticed. Do you think these people are proud of being on welfare? Circumstances are different for each individual. If I had to guess your probably a republican with a descent job that you hate and are jealous and pissed off because someone else doesn't have to live the same miserable life as you.

  Listen, I do not smoke, but

  Listen, I do not smoke, but from smoking it years ago I KNOW that it does not effect your ability to work. People on pot actually do better work because it makes you pay attention to detail. The people that can't work on pot were idiot's before they smoked the joint. So keep your crap filled comment's to yourself. The reason why you drive on crappy road's is because the government cut back on money to the road work and the old saying goes you get what you pay for.

I think I would have gotten a

I think I would have gotten a different husband if the only way he could cope with everyday life was to get high and he's so much nicer and fun to have around.  Wow, I'm sure there's a lot of women who would love to be in your shoes!

well that's you

 Many women stuck with abusive alcohol using men would give a lot to have a peace loving cannabis using man, or would if cannabis users weren't so viciously discriminated against legally, financially and in employment. If we wanted women and children to get beast up by men (meant to say beat, but I'll let it be), we'd have the same policies on alcohol vs. cannabis that we do now. Just unbelievable, isn't it?

Say no to wildly hypocritical, violence promoting alcohol supremacist bigotry, make the prohibitionists justify what they are doing in the give and take of real debate, which they will do anything to avoid.

Amen

Amen I agree with you 100%. If I want to unwind after a hard day I shouldn't be forced to drink alcohol to do it.

Thank You

Good post!

Why not

You have to pass a drug test to get a job. Why shouldn't you to suck your living off of the taxpaying citizens? I recognize that there are people who really need the assistance. Typically they should be job hunting anyway, which often requires testing to get the job. So those really trying to help themselves will show up clean. But those who collect and continue to collect so they can sit home and suck crack through a glass pipe shouldn't be getting taxpayer money to do it.

We have two problems here.

First being, no man shall be compelled to testify against himself. Second, the levying of war on the states or the people is treason. I believe Dickhead scott has had his head up there too long, his brain is lacking oxygen, among other things. But this is a good thing, scott has lots of money to be sued for. Conflict of interest, illegal search, considering he'll need a warrant for each "search". And clinic fires may become a problem since scotts wife has control over his chain of clinics across the state. House fires may also be on the rise. But sniper attacks wouldn't be surprising either.

Testify against himself? 

Testify against himself?  That applies to situations solely where he or she is standing or expecting to stand trial, your argument there is nowhere.  That is the most ridiculous stand point that anyone could take, but knowing how the court systems work in this country, some lawyer is going to stuff his pockets with the money of those from the people of those fighting this, and more tax dollars are going to be wasted just for the decision and law to stand.  Your second standpoint, also preposterous, states that congress (federal or state) has levied war on a state or people.  That argument is dead in the water.  The last time congress declared war was 1941 in World War II.  As for your comments threatening Arson and what appears to be Assassination, I believe that you will soon be getting a knock at the door, because threatening those is just as serious as conducting them.  Hope you aren't on your home computer, that kind of threat is good enough for that great legal system you mentioned to get a warrant to search for you! 

finally..nigg',ers can't sit

finally..nigg',ers can't sit and smoke crack all day and get paid for it..strong work gov..get a job you useless fucks!

True Colors of the Piss Nazis

White is the most prominent of them, it seems. Do you wear that pointy hood so that you know which end to wipe?

Congratulations Gov,

Congratulations Gov,

I am glad someone has finally attempted to do something about the Welfare program.  I don't really understand why there are so many people upset about this law.  I had to take a drug test to get my job, which I get up every morning and got to, so I can help pay for the Welfare program.  Why shouldn't they have to take a drug test to sit home and collect the money that the "WORKING" class put into the Welfare program.  I don't have a problem with this and think it is a good start in fixing the program.  Good job, keep up the good work!!

Seriously?

Ever think that it's not just african americans on welfare? Or drug addicts? It's SINGLE white mother's too, who work their asses off trying to support their family and as embarrassing as it is to get help from the state it's needed so we have money to pay for our children's needs, rent, utilities, and daycare and don't have to worry about not paying the electricity or not eating for a week. We don't all get child support so that is what cash assistance is for. Think before you preach..

Mirror Your Argument

Then what is it that those in the shoes you explained have to worry about?!  You'll get your money back if you are someone who is in need of it and lead a clean, drug free lifestyle like a single mother should.  If you (generalizing, not attacking your situation) are a single mother that is doing drugs and are complaining about it, I hope the state takes your kids from you when you piss hot.

Single MOM,If you don't do

Single MOM,

If you don't do drugs, this law doesn't affect you much, other than having to take a drug test. I agree, there are plenty of people on welfare who for one reason or another either can't work or just need assistance. Society needs to support these people. This is a personal, spiritual belief, but I think society has a responsibility to support those who have trouble supporting themselves. But it's a two-way street. With this support should come responsibility from the supported party. If you're not able to work or need to get help from the state, don't you think its fair that they require something of welfare users in return?  The people society shouldn't be responsible for supporting are those who use the support for something other than living necessities. JMO.

Liberals will always be ignorant...

Listen to all of the ignorant liberals on here bashing this guy because he enacted a policy that has been needed for years now. Welfare and other public assistance are bleeding this country dry but we cut education and increase money for dead beat lazy people? These people get a free check every month for doing absolutely nothing....and you think they should be able to do illegal drugs with no consequence? Illegal search by making them take a piss test? Absurd. The way I see it is the state is not making these people apply for assistance..they are doing that on their own. This just happens to be a qualification if you want the free money. 80% of public jobs today require you to take a drug test before they hire you..so where is the ACLU saying this is illegal? Its perfectly legal for us hardworking Americans to have to take a drug test to earn our paycheck but the deadbeat citizens who get free money shouldn't have to give up their precious urine. Liberals today are so dumb its actually comical...and they are the reason our country is in such a dump now. When we push them out of the spotlight and get them to shut up then this country can once again be the great place it once was.

im sorry, but you are so

im sorry, but you are so dumb, its comical. my doctors want me to take 25 pills a day, from narcotics to anxiety meds. health and welfare pretty much refuses to pay for my medical care because i wont spend hundreds of dollars of welfare money on those pills every month. instead, i can control most of my problems with a plant that grows out of the ground. so how am i wasting your precious tax dollars? answer: im NOT, by my "illegal" drug use, i am SAVING the welfare program hundreds of dollars, every month. you want that to end? stupid. all for a law based on lies and fear. but i guess the sheeple dont mind being the sheeple, so have fun with that.

Who cares if it is "embarrassing"

If you need the money, you will go through an "embarrassing" pee test to get it. If I want health or life insurance, I have to take a pee test. If you're clean, you get insurance. If you are clean, you get welfare. I wish I lived in Florida, because nothing like this WILL EVER pass in California.

Why is it so humiliating or embarrassing, anyway? And is an embarrassment unconstitutional? I think it is unconstitutional that my tax dollars go to welfare sponges who use their welfare cards in Vegas and on cruises. I've never been on a cruise...because I WORK and I only get 2 weeks off a year.

Right or wrong, is anyone really right or wrong ?

Whether you think this law is right or wrong, I do not know how anyone can argue, that the children of all Floridians who receive public assistance are the ones who are going to pay the price. These children did not have the right to come out of  the womb and say "Gee I think I choose to be a member of the Bush family" or "Gee I really hope my new mother or father snorts coke", just like none of us had the choice. The law states a designated third party can provide for the children, if you are ok with this clause then I'm sorry but how is that any better. Who's to say this third party is going to have the children's best interest at heart. In some cases they may, in some cases they may not. If then the children become appointees of the state, you're saying an extra 20, 000 + children are going to have their needs met, it would almost seem the the drug using parents would do a better job. In many cases this will either be seen as a monetary gain for the the third party or an extra burden and are either of those scenarios any better then the previous. If you are indeed saying they are, then you might as well be saying " I'm saving money, screw the children". It not even about making people do drug tests to qualify for welfare assistance, if that would be the case, then you are saying every single person that has had any kind of taxable assistance should have to adhere to drug testing. Now, ask yourself is that really realistic ? Scott states, "This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars." Does anyone actually now how much of their tax dollar goes towards welfare assistance, compared to well...... anything. This is craziness....... The idea of accountability is fine, but why is so much money, time and effort being given to taking away from those who have little to begin with, ohh because they use our money..... that's laughable. The idea of drug testing one group of select people is so far from heading in the right direction , it's incomprehensible why any human being would think that would make things better in the long run. If we're going to do it, then do it right,have everyone subject to the same criteria. But yet again is that really realistic..hmm good question.

Right or wrong, is anyone really right or wrong ?

Whether you think this law is right or wrong, I do not know how anyone can argue, that the children of all Floridians who receive public assistance are the ones who are going to pay the price. These children did not have the right to come out of  the womb and say "Gee I think I choose to be a member of the Bush family" or "Gee I really hope my new mother or father snorts coke", just like none of us had the choice. The law states a designated third party can provide for the children, if you are ok with this clause then I'm sorry but how is that any better. Who's to say this third party is going to have the children's best interest at heart. In some cases they may, in some cases they may not. If then the children become appointees of the state, you're saying an extra 20, 000 + children are going to have their needs met, it would almost seem the the drug using parents would do a better job. In many cases this will either be seen as a monetary gain for the the third party or an extra burden and are either of those scenarios any better then the previous. If you are indeed saying they are, then you might as well be saying " I'm saving money, screw the children". It not even about making people do drug tests to qualify for welfare assistance, if that would be the case, then you are saying every single person that has had any kind of taxable assistance should have to adhere to drug testing. Now, ask yourself is that really realistic ? Scott states, "This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars." Does anyone actually now how much of their tax dollar goes towards welfare assistance, compared to well...... anything. This is craziness....... The idea of accountability is fine, but why is so much money, time and effort being given to taking away from those who have little to begin with, ohh because they use our money..... that's laughable. The idea of drug testing one group of select people is so far from heading in the right direction , it's incomprehensible why any human being would think that would make things better in the long run. If we're going to do it, then do it right,have everyone subject to the same criteria. But yet again is that really realistic..hmm good question.

The only people I've had

The only people I've had contact with who are receiving or have received government assistance are families wherein parents are drug-free individuals with a long history of working hard and paying their taxes just like the rest of us who've been laid off and are finding it impossible to find and maintain steady employment in this economy. In fact, most of them had at least an associates degree (one was a dental hygienist)  if not more. While you will always find those who abuse any system, the potential savings don't outpace the more likely expense this law will end up creating. 

Further, this law is more of an effort to look tough on government spending while in fact lining his own pockets, than anything else.

Scott is a joke; all of his initiative are designed solely to further his personal agenda-not for the short- or long-term benefit of the state.

If you think this law is

If you think this law is just, you have done NO research into the comparison of cannabis against pharmaceutical medications. In 10,000 years of human use of cannabis, not one single person has ever died from it. In the decades we have been using pharmaceutical poisons, how many thousands have died from overdose? How many more thousands  from addiction or complications from extended use? So, what you are saying, is that if i have to get welfare, my only choice should be to slowly kill myself (at a cost of thousands of dollars to the welfare system). The option to use something that cant hurt me, and will provide hundreds of health benefits ( YES, LOOK IT UP AND SEE THAT THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF SAFE, BENEFICIAL USES OF CANNABIS) at NO cost to the welfare system, as i can grow it right in my own home, should disqualify me from receiving welfare? Whose screwed up idea is that?

You may be interested to know that some of the states that are considering legalizing for medical use are considering it because it would bring the cost of required medications for welfare recipients down significantly, so put that in your pipe and smoke it next time you want to blame potheads for waste of tax dollars. Oh, and enjoy the 300 dollar refill on a med i can substitute with a plant.

I think everyone is actually

I think everyone is actually getting off the real reason this law was passed. Who cares if you smoke dope, pop pills, snort coke, huff paint...I really don't care what your drug of the day is...the point is when you are an idiot and do this shit I AM NOT PAYING FOR IT!!! You are not going to be able to sit around and do nothing for yourself or society and use my money to eat, pay your bills, buy your cigs/ drinks or anything else. That is what makes me happy.

pee testing

The bottom line is this.  Whereas 8.7% of Floridians do drugs, results from testing show that only 2% of those on welfare do.  This law is unconstitutional under the 4th amendment.  The same crap was tried and shot down by the federal courts in Michigan.  To make his wife a lot of business Scott has wasted loads of state dollars .Why impeachment proceedings haven't been started are beyond me!

Why?

Why is it humiliating,disrespectful, and treating somebody like a suspected criminal to demand a drug test for welfare, and not to demand a drug test to get a job?????????????????????????????????????????????

THIS IS NUTS

Rather than "pick" on drugs, alcohol etc.  why not make it a "requirement" that any recipient of government assistance is required to "earn" their subsistence by community service of some sort or "government work" if they are both physically and mentally able to do so (I mean afterall they are already on the government payroll, they just arn't required to work).  At the very least they should be required to "pick up their check" in person ... that would at least remove all the "dead people" receiving social security.

Well said!

Most people on welfare are willing to work. While I do believe the government should guarantee employment and deep six the whole stupid idea of drug testing and credit checks, both of which are worthless, I don’t think it should pay those who don’t do their jobs. All that matters is that they do their jobs, no matter how many doobies they light up a week or how long they blow off their credit card bills.

Drug Rest

I was subjected to random drug tests at my job. It didn't bother me since I didn't do drugs. There are a lot of people that abuse welfare. They will reimburse them as long as they pass. If you don't do drugs why cry about it? I knew a lot of people in Sacramento that sold their food stamps for half what they were worth allowing their kids to go hungry while they got high on meth. I think all states should require recipients to drug test. Think of all the money saved. Maybe that would make them clean up if they really need the welfare help.

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