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Florida Bill to Drug Test State Employees Passes

On the final day of the state's legislative session, the Florida Senate last Friday approved a bill allowing state agencies to force their employees to submit to random, suspicionless drug testing. The bill passed on a near party line vote of 26-14.

The measure had already passed the House. Gov. Rick Scott (R), who tried to get state employee drug testing enacted via executive order only to see it blocked at least temporarily by a federal judge's injunction, is certain to sign it.

The measure, House Bill 1205, authorizes state agencies to require that employees submit to random, periodic, suspicionless drug testing. Under the bill, 10% of an agency's work force would be tested every three months. The bill strips out provisions in Florida law limiting drug testing to safety-sensitive positions and makes it easier to fire a worker after a first confirmed positive drug test.

The bill is almost certain to face challenges in the courts, labor leaders and civil libertarians told the Associated Press. The federal courts consider drug testing a search and thus subject to Fourth Amendment proscriptions against warrantless searches. The federal courts have carved out only limited exceptions to the general rule -- for safety-sensitive positions, for some police doing drug law enforcement, for some high school students -- and have ruled against earlier efforts to drug tests elected officials and welfare recipients.

Rich Templin, legislative director for the Florida AFL-CIO, said the program probably will mean more lawsuits for the state when Scott signs it. AFL-CIO unions represent about 100,000 state employees.

"This is just another attempt to vilify state workers and make them the problem," said Templin.

"State workers don't trade their constitutional rights for a state paycheck or other benefits," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. "Unfortunately, the governor and legislature appear to want to re-learn that lesson over and over again."

One of the few Republicans to vote against the bill said he hadn't seen any evidence that state employees used drugs at a rate any higher than the population at large.

"I haven't been running across drug-addled employees unable to do their job," said Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart).

Suspicionless drug testing is "how we lose our liberties," said Sen. Maria Sachs (D-Boca Raton). "What could be more intrusive than a search of your own body?" she asked. "This is one more step down the slippery slope of becoming a nanny state."

"You're talking about testing some clerk at the DMV; what probable cause do you have? This is expanding government for no good reason," said Sen. Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale).

The bill's senate sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) protested that, although the bill makes it easier to fire employees who use drugs, it is designed to help them.

"Think about the preventative aspects," the Umatilla Republican said. "We owe it to our state employees."

Tallahassee, FL
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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preventative aspects

Yea , that drug testing crap really prevents people from using drugs . This is probably a smoke screen . The prohibitionists of Cannabis know that their days are numbered . What you see is a circling of the wagons by career politicians who strive off the torment of others . Hypocrites themselves . Government has become an S&M event . The corporate greed group pays the politicians to pass laws that torment the general public for their own profit and personal enjoyment . A good section of the general public seems to enjoy their pain either through submission , blindness or apathy . S&M . To pass a law that is blatantly un-constitutional on its face , amounts to a rejection of their oath of office by vote . Politicians are not leaders , they are representatives of the people . Our politicians serve at the pleasure of the people . We get only what we allow .

Industry of parasites

These drug testing by law people and the treatment by force bunch are of a kind.There is ample evidence that drug treatment in itself is often nothing more than a scam with single digit success and that forced treatment is the cause of the lowest success in the industry.The whole prohibition movement are heavily into force of any kind.It leads to a lot of bad feelings and we all know that telling someone what they can or can't do is a good way to get,particularly young people to get right to it.People should be allowed to get treatment whenever they want it,as leaving a drug problem to fester helps no one.The trouble with this whole movement is that they usually catch mostly pot smokers as pot remains in the system for so long.Thus we have treatment programs full of people that shouldn't be there being treated for a problem that in most cases is no problem at all.Firing on a first test sounds like a witch hunt.I certainly hope the busted employee has the choice of treatment,regardless of it's value,it's still better than being tossed in the street with no job.This has to be taken to court the first possible chance and defeated.It is just wrong for so many reasons.

I was just recently fired do

I was just recently fired do to random drug testing this was my 3rd one i past the other two.I failed because I had painkillers in my urine because I had a wicked ass toothache so I took 2 pills on a sat. and 2 pills on sun. my wife has a prescription for the pills I was randomly tested on Mon and was fired because I didnt have a prescription for the pills.I was not tested for alcohol as it is stated on the sheet that I took to the clinic but was tested in the pass for alcohol I was not allowed to retake the test and was not offered treatment or to seek treatment on my own even if I needed it or not I have never been injuried on the job,never had an accident,never was on workers comp,short/long term disability,have great attendance and a great work ethics outside of work I don't drink alcohol,have no criminal record,never had a car accident and never had a speeding ticket I worked there for 18yrs I started out as a green horn general laborer and moved up the ladder to a management position in a short time.Right now I'm appealing for unemployment because I was denied it which is so wrong.

I Don't Understand

An identical bill was blocked by the court, so now they introduce it again?  Hasn't it been established that these types of laws are unconstitutional?  Is there anybody who doesn't know this law will be challenged and overturned, costing the state a lot of money?  What are these people thinking?

Speaking of money, wasn't it reported that Gov. Scott has some ties to the company doing the drug testing?  I thought I heard his wife had some stock in that company.

The Grand Governor

Owns a large chain of Drug Testing Labs that he signed over to his wife so there would be no conflict of interest. Can you believe that crap.. These Politicians just find ways to push dollars into their own, and their friends and supporters pockets.. Payback for the support! This Governor however was a criminal with a multitude of accusations against him for defrauding patients and the medical industry for hundreds of millions of dollars. As a citizen of the State of Florida I can not believe they put him in office, so the voters can endure the humiliation and pain he puts upon them. 

Would Florida Have Drug Tested Albert Einstein?

Fortunately, Einstein never suffered the indignity of piss testing.  When he fled Germany to live in the United States he was employed by the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., a prestigious, post-graduate facility, thus making him immune to certain state employee laws of the type currently being considered by Florida.

Had drug testing been imposed in Germany during the Reich years, Einstein might have been caught up in some high tech anti-drug frenzy, targeting him not so much for suspicion of drugs, of course, but because he was Jewish.  The Nazis never got that far, although they did round up and send drug addicts to concentration and work camps, unless the addicted person was someone important to the Reich.

That an eminent professor at a state-sponsored university could be compelled to empty his or her bladder on command to a group of ignorant drug inquisitors, simply to prove she or he is not a drug criminal, just doesn’t equate.   Yet, if such people are to be spared the human indignity and intrusiveness of a drug test, then equality under the law demands equal treatment for everyone.  So if it’s morally and constitutionally wrong to arbitrarily drug test someone like Einstein, who didn’t even drink alcohol, then it’s wrong to randomly drug test anyone.

Giordano

Facts Please

Random Testing and or Urine testing have absolutely NO MERITS. Give us a test that shows a level of impairment  and I will agree with you. The current tests are nothing more than a History test and are prone to high error rates. They are more useless than Lie Detector tests but are pushed by Government at every turn. 

NO MERITS

You are totally right!!! To me random testing is a illegal body search without probable cause the police can't even do it. just randomly grab somebody walking the sidewalk and search them. Drug testing is both unfair and unnecessary. It is unfair to force workers who are not even suspected of using drugs, and whose job performance is satisfactory, to “prove” their innocence through a degrading and uncertain procedure that violates personal privacy. Such tests are unnecessary because they cannot detect impairment and, thus, in no way enhance an employer’s ability to evaluate or predict job performance.Do employers have the right to run a safe and productive workplace? Of course they do, if employees cannot do the work or are unsafe employers have a legitimate reason for disciplining or dismissing them. But drug tests do not measure job performance. Even a confirmed “positive” provides no evidence of present intoxication or impairment; it merely indicates that a person may have taken a drug at some time in the past If an employer cannot tell that someone is not performing their job,being unsafe,causing injuries or accidents or under the influence then they have no reason to test.I thought that American was a free country. We are not owned by our employers (that went out with slavery) so we should not be subjected to this kind of "arbitrary interference" with our privacy. It is unconstitutional! Urine tests are body searches, and they are an unprecedented invasion of privacy. Employers do have the right to expect their employees not to be high, drunk, or asleep, job performance is the bottom line but urine tests do not measure job performance. Rather than submit a person to drug testing, why not use the traditional method of checking references to find out about job performance, Supervisors need to be trained to identify, confront, or refer impaired employees to Employee Assistance Programs or other intervention programs. Impairment testing not only detects people who are impaired by drugs and alcohol, but also by sleep deprivation stress, fatigue, emotional problems including anxiety, sickness or other health problems, over-the counter medications, prescription medications, or those who are otherwise not able to perform safely,they are not discriminatory. Rather, they measure everyone equally by their performance which is the most significant factor in employment.Firing a person through drug testing is also a sure way to keep him or her using drugs and alcohol making the persons life more unbearable,reducing odds of improving life and be denied their rights and government benefits.

The bigwigs

The bigwigs won't be worried about any testing. Just the lower end schmucks. Money makes the wheels go...

This legislation only passed

This legislation only passed after the requirement for testing of elected officials was stripped out of it.  Tell you anything?  Does me.  Says that State employees are just a convenient target for the elected officials especially if they were not elected with the help of the unions.  Got to love the whole paranoia aspect of this program.  And of course as someone else pointed out these tests are useless for confirming impairment at the time of testing.  Especially for cannabis.  Courts should throw out every conviction of anyone who is busted just because of drug testing.  I guess I do need to change one thing, the Alcohol testing does show actual impairment.  Here's hoping that the courts still throw these kind of laws out.

Cuts both ways.

If it isn't pre-emptively overturned in court, this drug-testing law will cut both ways, generally to the detriment of the public interest, and very much to detriment of the operations of state government.

The only way to prove that drug testing is random is to make it really random, which means making the selection and enforcement process transparent and public.  If the process isn't provably random, conferring equal jeopardy upon all who draw income from the state, the state will lose huge amounts of money in federal courts for damages, and especially for consequential damages.  State government's budget, and the whole machinery of the state, will be brought to its knees.  If the drug testing process really is provably random, then it will *be* random, and high-level government officials will take just as big a hit as anyone else.  Governmental operations will suffer grievously.  State obligations, contractual and otherwise, will not be met, with consequent massive hemorrage of state money and other resources. The State University System, among other agencies, will suffer severe damage; it will take a generation or two of comparatively expensive rational management for it to recover.  Many of the best people will flee government employment, either for self-preservation or on principle.

In the end, these legislators will all be voted out of office, and their agendas, no matter what they are, will also suffer.  They obviously don't know the relevant U.S. history.  Ken Burns's "Prohibition" film should be required viewing for all drug warriors.  They really need to know that stuff.  What they don't know will definitely bite them.  Hard. 

Are people really this stupid?  Apparently so.

 

 

 

 

fiscal

Great, not only blatant hypocrisy, but another boondoggle program. Your Welfare Drug Testing Bill is ALREADY costing MORE than it SAVES. These people have the common fiscal sense of cinchbug. cezar

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