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Florida Governor Orders State Employee Drug Testing

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #676)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) Tuesday issued an executive order Tuesday requiring that current state employees submit to random drug tests and that applicants for state jobs undergo pre-hiring drug tests. The order will go into effect in 60 days for current employees and immediately for new hires, but it certain to be challenged in court.

Rick Scott
The executive order came as the state legislature grapples with a bill that would require people who apply for state welfare benefits to submit to a drug test -- and pay for it themselves -- before receiving them. That bill, Senate Bill 556, is supported by Gov. Scott and passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday.

"Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace," Scott said. "Just as it is appropriate to screen those seeking taxpayer assistance, it is also appropriate to screen government employees."

The bill applies only to workers in executive agencies that answer to the governor. Legislators and their staffs would be exempt.

State law already allows for, but does not require, pre-employment drug testing of applicants for jobs at state agencies under the Florida Drug-Free Workplace Act. But the random drug testing of both state employees and welfare recipients is likely to run up against the US Constitution.

Federal courts have generally found that random testing of government workers who aren't in jobs that affect public safety amounts to a "search" by the government. Such searches must be "reasonable," generally, and some courts have interpreted such requirements of ordinary government workers as a violation of the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. A Michigan law requiring drug testing of welfare recipients was thrown out by the federal courts in 2003.

The ACLU of Florida attacked Scott's order, saying that a federal court had in 2004 already ruled that the state was violating the Fourth Amendment when the Department of Juvenile Justice instituted a random drug testing program. In that case, a US district judge ordered the agency to halt random drug testing and pay the worker who sued $150,000.

"I'm not sure why Gov. Scott does not know that the policy he recreated by executive order today has already been declared unconstitutional," ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said in a statement. "The state of Florida cannot force people to surrender their constitutional rights in order to work for the state. Absent any evidence of illegal drug use, or assigned a safety-sensitive job, people have a right to be left alone."

While Gov. Scott is coming off as a hard-liner when it comes to drug testing poor people and state workers, he has also zeroed out the state drug czar's office and blocked the state from beginning a prescription drug tracking plan. But then, as the saying goes, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


old vet (not verified)

looks like a dick with a face on the side .besides that if other people gotta be tested than all state employees should be tested  .better idea would be to test them for stupidly as they all seem to be idiots especially the cops 

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 1:03pm Permalink

The Fact that Entheogenists are not even allowed a legitimate defense in the Courts proves to me that all of our Enemies in the United States are called "Prohibitionists".  Those people who choose to cut off all of God's Entheogenists from having the Sacred herbs and plants that our God provided us!

These people are religiously fighting against our Lord and God, who has provided Entheogens for our personal relationship with Him.  We who accept these sacred entheogens know that God will not lead us to break the Law, and we do not. Because we have bee provided with the 1st Amendment.  

Just because other people "Prohibitionists" deny us the 1st Amendment, does not mean that we as Entheogenists before our God are Just and right to choose to ask the Invite that our God has made by the offering of Cannabis we accept in His new creation name. 

The fact that the Courts already Persecute Entheogenists, by disallowing a legitimate defense in Court for their religious sacramentals, the insidiousness of this Proposed Bill.. seeks to make our Poor people .. more stressed.. less able to cope with life and so more suicidal and more likely to strike out at general population, or even specific groups of people. 

As a Floridian, I must respect the prompting we as Floridians have accepted in voting this Guy into the position which allows him the opportunity to Hate those he doesn't hang with. However, I as a Citizen must Hate the Abuse of Government, which seeks to invade the Private Lives of "We the citizens" by Mandating "Piss Tests" as a way to Profile People (especially Religious Entheogenists!) out of our citizens rights, employment and into captivity for substances that cause no one any harm; when accepted within one's own  religion.     -Keshet Israel      

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 2:02pm Permalink
joebanana (not verified)

Unemployment isn't paid by the state, it's paid by the employer. This asshat needs a recall election.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 2:10pm Permalink
Page S (not verified)

All taxpayers should be drug tested.  Those that fail should not be allowed to pay any taxes.  We don't want a government dependent on a bunch of drug addicts, do we?

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 4:56pm Permalink
Anonymouse (not verified)

Who voted for this guy? He says he wants to create new jobs in the same breath he proposes shutting down prisons and firing state employees; he says staff cuts must be made in all state agencies, in the same document he says he intends to add 90 people to his executive staff; he discards a successful data-gathering effort to reduce problematic "pill mills" because the gov't is tracking too much personal/medical info, but he wants to gather personal health info of all state employees by having them drug tested "randomly" with the intention that "each employee be tested once each quarter"; he opposes mandatory health care, but mandates unnecessary medical tests on state workers and wants to require extra medical tests on pregnant women considering an abortion. He was indicted for fraud! Maybe his Solantic Urgent Care Centers were being pressured about the number of pain med prescriptions they hand out? Perhaps all of these tests will have to be conducted at Solantic? You know someone is going to have a great state contract. And where does all this money come from? He's slashing funds for public education, cutting pay for the majority of poorly paid state workers while adding to those paid the highest, and earmarking tax dollars for personal gain. Who voted for this guy??
Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:04pm Permalink
rita (not verified)

The only way to insure a drug-free workplace is to test every single employee every 2 hours.  Of course, then you'd also have a work-free workplace, so I would suggest starting with the governor's office and working your way down through the legislature and the police departments.  Let the parasites feed on each other for a change.

Mon, 03/28/2011 - 12:13pm Permalink
Anonymous1 (not verified)

This guy admitted while campaigning that his company committed the largest Medicare fraud in history, but yet he was elected. I heard from someone that he turned all his clinics and other biz over to his wife so it would not be a conflict of interest. But the state employees are to go to his former clinics for their testing, what a scam.

He  "blocked the state from beginning a prescription drug tracking plan." the last politician that I remember blocking drug related legislation was mayor Barry in DC, who was an addict. 

Mon, 03/28/2011 - 12:14pm Permalink
Duncan20903 (not verified)

What, there's no synthetic urine available in the entire State of Florida? I'll bet there is if you look for it.

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 8:41pm Permalink
Jme (not verified)

Recreational drug use is illegal. Drug testing workers funded by the state sounds pretty common sense to me.

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 9:33pm Permalink
Jme (not verified)

Recreational drug use is illegal. Drug testing workers funded by the state sounds pretty common sense to me.

Thu, 03/31/2011 - 9:34pm Permalink
Echo (not verified)

In reply to by Jme (not verified)

who do you think will pay for all this? we will! so if you think it is no big deal when most of us don't have enough money left from our meager salaries to feed our families at the end of the day, then by all means let's just create some more wasteful use of our hard earned tax money to support unreliable drug testing so a few smug people can rest easier at night in their false security! AND if that isn't enough, wake up and read your Constitution and Bill of Rights before it all becomes history... with each and every right we surrender, we are less and less a free people. but then that is another illusion that many people seem to not want to shed!  so many people take their freedom for granted that soon it will no longer be granted.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.  " Benjamin Franklin

Sat, 04/09/2011 - 8:19am Permalink
AngryFloridian (not verified)

Yet... he, and other elected Florida officials, whose salaries are also paid for with tax dollars, will not be drug tested and cannot be held accountable for their actions and inactions... because the Florida constitution contains no measure for Recall.... Hypocrites.

Fri, 07/01/2011 - 12:35am Permalink

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