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Scott signs bill forcing drug tests on welfare recipients

Floridians will have to submit urine, blood or hair samples for drug testing before receiving cash benefits from the state, under a bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law today.

"The goal of this is to make sure we don't waste taxpayers' money," Scott said. "And hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs."

Taxpayers will reimburse welfare applicants for negative drug tests. Positive tests will carry an immediate ban on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families for six months. A second positive test will result in a three-year ban on state assistance.

Other details in the new law:

• The Department of Children and Families must inform applicants that they can avoid a drug test if they do not apply for benefits.

• The state must assure each applicant "a reasonable degree of dignity while producing and submitting a sample."

• Parents who fail drug tests can get benefits for their children by naming a state-approved designee to collect the money. That designee must also pass a drug test.

ACLU Florida has suggested they might sue the state over the new law. A statement from the group's state director today did not mention legal action, but said they would have an announcement tomorrow about Scott's executive order forcing drug tests on state employees.

"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," Howard Simon said in his statement. "This 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 use."

About 233,000 Floridians applied for cash assistance in 2009-10, including 114,000 families, according to DCF statistics. This month, 93,170 Floridians received cash assistance, a drop of 8.3 percent from a year ago.

Scott today also signed a bill, HB 1039, banning fake ban salts. The legislation was pushed by Attorney General Pam Bondi and Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen.

Comments

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Jimbo

"The Department of Children and Families must inform applicants that they can avoid a drug test if they do not apply for benefits."

So in other words, come back in a couple of weeks when you're clean for a bit and then you can qualify for money.

Yeah, great program. This is really going to solve all of our problems. Yay government.


Joe

How is this 'small government'?

Jim Nelson

When I was offered a job so I could collect a paycheck and provide for my family, I was informed that I would have to be willing to take a drug test at that time, and be willing to undergo random tests.
Why should people collecting a check from the government not have to do the same?

WC Green

Does the ACLU require drug tests of its employees?

nevernot

Remember all you who use your employers random drug test policy to justify this, if your employer does NOT have probable cause to believe you are intoxicated at work they have absolutely no legal right to test you. The criminal Rick Scott has no probable cause to believe that every welfare recipient is using drugs. He is using this fourth amendment violation to enrich himself through his Solantic Clinics which will be offering these tests.

LucieannD

Maybe we should require the Governor and the state legislature to take drug tests before they take the oath of office and seated!!

formerroadie

Florida looks more and more like a fascist state. Are people in that state really that heartless and stupid? How do you vote in a criminal and not know it? The US is full of nuts it seems.

aces7wild

THANK YOU TO THE GOV. i dont even live in florida but i thank you still for doing the right thing. liberalism is a mental disease. the sooner you realize it, the faster you will be successful in your OWN life.

Proud member of "Global Zero"

I will not stand for my taxes to pay for Pee tests. We need funding for education, roads, bridges, and investments in more solar. I did not sign up for this. I will not pay for it. My rep will be hearing from me.

Steve Robinson

So Rick Scott took his golden parachute money from the company he used to defraud the government, and bought himself a Governor-ship.

Now, Governor Scott wants to get the money he spent, back, with interest. What's next? Weekly drug tests for anyone born on a day of the week with a Y in it?

Florida needs to recall this joker before there is no reason to recall him because he will have totally denuded the state.

oldsteve

deb

In the meantime, state employees earning poverty wages haven't had a raise in 5 years, and are being forced to take a 3% paycut to contribute to a pension. Actual current salaries below:
1. Accountant IV, 12 years of service = $36,744.
2. Tax Specialist II, 35 years of service = $40,255.
3. Correction¬al Officer, 19 years of service = $38,827.
4. Vocational Rehab, 20 years of service = $27,943.
5. Senior Rehabilita¬tion, 30 years of service = $34,087.
6. Government Analyst, 13 years of service = $37,561.
7. Revenue Manager, 22 years of service = $31,691.
8. Protective Investigat¬or, 22 years of service = $33,783.
9. Tax Auditor IV, 23 years of service = $44,845.
10. Accountant I, 5 years of service, = $24,580.
The are textbook example of the need for unions, and the fate of employees left in the hands of their employers.

B Frank

what about people who get completely drunk everyday? A hair test won't show somebody is a drunk, but I guess that's ok. Scott should be recalled- he's a liar and a fraud.

Eddie

you people voted for this guy i hope you learned your lesson' most likely not.

Jordan Flame

You know who offers drug tests?

Solantic Clinics.

You know who used to own Solantic?

Rick Scott.

Know who owns it now?

His wife.

Gloria Y Fredericks

Rick Scott is a crook. There may be a majority of welfare recipients who are not addicted to drugs. How many persons are aware that this policy allows the governor to personally enrich himself and that this is a classic case of corporate welfare, a fact he will deny. Must the governor and his spouse also be required to undergo drug tests?

Jeremy

"The goal of this is to make sure we don't waste taxpayers' money,"

Who is paying for these drug tests? The taxpayers. This is just a gimme to the drug testing labs to make more money, and considering that Gov Scott's company was a record breaking Medicare Fraud business, he is probably getting some kind of kick back.

Bob White

It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant and or uninformed some of you are. One. Florida has no recall law for the Governor. Two, this from The Orlando Sentinel "So, could Solantic benefit from Scott’s drug testing plan?

“No,” said Solantic CEO Karen Bowling in a phone conversation Friday. “We will not bid on that business.”

We talked for a bit about how it was hard to determine what form that “business” would take — since we don’t yet know whether one company would get a contract, whether multiple ones would or whether workers would have to walk into clinics, labs with vouchers, etc.

But Bowling vowed that, no matter what form the deal takes, Solantic will not benefit. So without knowing more details, that’s about as good as we can get for now."

So those two items are off the table.

Now as to the post that an employer can not test you without probable cause is misinformed. An employer can test you at anytime.

retie133

It would seem fair to also drug test any corporations ceos and managers that also recieve taxpayer money through state grants or other means.

Tip Rorn

What a fascist.

E Setser

wasn't there a scandal awhile back that baldy was using his company to run the drug tests in effect lining his pockets with tax payers money ?

Floyd pookies daughter

Wow drug testing to make sure your poor and stay that way just poor

dawn

wow i think maybe if we do drug test that maybe I might be able to get help. Husband lost job and I was not work that much. Lost both vechiles do to the ecomony had to ask family and friends to help feed my kids because the STATE said I made to much money.

Gary in palm beach

Aclu is right that this treats 240k people as criminals... scott's bet being this will disqualify enough people to offset the cost of urine tests.... Damned be their families.

How does cutting off children from food stamps help florida's economy?

Once again republicans forego job creation legislation in trade for moral grandstanding and values voters appeal. Wake up florida.

Ray

First WC Green.......Yes the ACLU has to the same you twit. Another thing my Right Wing Tea Bagger. Your Bud Rush Lardass went running to the ACLU to protect his rights when he was caught with over 6,000 meds. So please shut the hell up.
Second The most ineffective and Hated guv ever in the state of FL. Rick Scott. Here I thought it was Bob Martinez.
Scott has forgotten who is employers are. The people of FL.
Hey Scott happy one term. You jerk.

Alex Wareckein

Rick Scott must be sick.This state is turning like Germany at Hitler's goverment he is insane.No respect for citizens privacy, violating human rights, A lot of people on welfare are disable too. Anyway he does not want to expend tax payers money ? he forgot his company was engaged in fraud.Who paid for that money? The Florida Lotto?

james b. appell

For the past 25 years I have vacationed in Pensacola,Fla..Sadly,this year I am changing my vacation destination to Gulf Shores,Al..I cannot bring myself to spend my hard-earned money in a state that would elect a jackal like Scott to govern them.So long Fla.-it was great while it lasted. Jim from New Orleans.

Lynn Demarest

I assume welfare recipients can still consume as much alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and pharmaceuticals as they like. So drink up, losers! And congratulations, Budweiser!

Wes

In order to work, I must submit to a drug test and it must be negative or I don't work, tell me why welfare recipients should get special treatment? I dont care to fund welfare so anyone on welfare can use the money to set back and get high. If the money is used to provide food and shelter for needy families then I'll happily allow my tax money to help them but not for illegal drugs. Sorry, call me a fascist whatever you like I really don't care. I pay over $600 per month in taxes I'd like the money used for good purpose. Using illegal drugs serves no good purpose. My rights end where it could negatively effect someone else and it is the same for all Americans whether on welfare or hard working folks. Get used to it.

Aaron

Drug addiction is a disease. What other diseases will eventually discredit someone from assistance? Once again the GOP/Teabaggers take anidological stance that is faulty. Yes it may sound like a good idea as a way o crack down on welfare fraud, but then there is this little thing called reality. Just because something sounds like a good idea, doesnt make it so. Even with welfare fraud, statistics show that for every dollar we spend on foodstamps- we generate $1.35+ in return. Foodstamps make money- its called "stimulus" for a reason, it stimulates the economy, which causes businesses to spend money to meet demands, causing them to make profits, which generates revenues for the government. That doesnt mean we should allow fraud, but it shows how taking such a hard ideological stance can end up being more of a detriment than a benefit. Again, drug addiction is a disease, and as such, Scott is penalizing people with a medical condiction. It isalso unconstitutional, illegal search and seizure. Receiving assistance is different than getting a check from an employer. Employers drug testing is done to protect themselves from liability. There is no liability involved in foodstamps. In fact there is ethical liability in denying foodstamps to those in need. We already know foodstamps stimulate the economy, so not only are we hurting innocent children, we are also hurting the economy.

You want to stop welfare fraud? Help these people get jobs. Require job searches and actually verify those searches with businesses. Job placement programs, etc, there are many options that would be more productive without infringing on peoples constitutional rights.

Scott is going to be recalled. It will take some time, but hopefully Fla. Will be able to undue the damage he has done. Hopefully they have learned there lesson. Scotts ideological views arent isolated, they are shared by the Tea Party, and are being adopted by many moderate GOP due to political pressures.

As for liberalism being a "disease". Studies have shown that a majority of Fox
viewers are misinformed. So what does that say about the mental faculties of those viewers, and Fox? Studies have been done which explain differences in political views. So that comment is inflamatory, and shows your ignorance.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1196554/posts

SaneAmerican

Do oil company CEOs have to take drug tests before receiving billions in taxpayer welfare?

Jay S

Maybe next time there's an off-year election for governor, ordinary Floridians will get off their butts and go to the polls. That way, we don't let a small bunch of extremist Teabaggers put a crook like Scott into office. Over 3 years to go before we can be rid of him. Grrrrrr!

Connie

Alex Sink where are you??

Lawton Chiles

It's about time. The rest of us have to submit to testing to get hired or to keep our jobs. The ones getting the free handouts should also have to take the tests. When the government confiscates part of my paycheck to give to these people, I don't want my money to be spent on drugs when it was meant for food and clothes. I guarantee you that Alex Stink would have vetoed this measure. Good job Governor Scott. You're doing what we elected you to do.

Glen Wagner

So what do you think the result of this will be? Will those on welfare that are using drugs clean up their act so that they can continue to receive welfare payments? Maybe some will, but I'm willing to bet that many will seek other revenue streams to support their habit... like crime. Good luck, Florida! You'll need all that money you aren't giving to needy people to hire more cops.

Karla Vogel

Here in Clearlake, Ca, meth capitol of the country, if a similiar law were to pass, it would only lead to more homeless and hungry children . Since the law only applies to cash assistance, tweekers will sell their foodstamps for meth money, and their kids will suffer. Tweekers will do anything for money..get real, the law is a very dangerous one for children.

Say No to Corporate America

GOV Inc doesn't test the corporations and banksters who get BILLIONS of OUR tax dollars!

Who will suffer? CHILDREN! Nearly 25% of American children are living in poverty (gov study). Class warfare rages on.

Labs make mistakes and they are stupid if they think users can't beat drug tests. This is a waste of time and money so Mr. and Mrs. Scott can have their company do the tests for free. Make the companies that have perpetrated FRAUD do the tests for free since they owe the taxpayers. I can see the drug testing IF there is reason to suspect drug use, but it will solve nothing. It will only cost money and only add to the burden for state and recipient.

Ashley

In a way this new thing could be good, and in another I think it is completely stupid to take more money from people who don't have that much money in the first place to pay for drug tests, if people can't afford food and need the assistance do you really think they can afford to pay for a drug test to be able to eat. I didn't even hear anything about a vote on this matter and to me we should have been able to put a vote in.

ejes

I demand that they be tested for alcohol as well, i'm not paying for their drugs OR alcohol. In fact, test them to ensure that they're feeding themselves properly as well, I am NOT paying for their junk food or STYLISH clothes, if they're begging for money from the government then they should spend it RESPONSIBLY.

sue walker

so glad the gov. is going to hold welfare people responsible for their free money. Wish other states would do the same. Sick of seeing people at the grocery stores fill their carts and pay with food stamps and them buy lottery tickets, beer, etc. and pay with cash! Hang in there Flordia----the UCLA are probably on welfare. I teach and I must be radom drug tested and who cares if they don't have something to hide!

T Wi

Why not have daily acohol tests for ALL Florida government employees including Florida Senators, Congressmen and the Governor. The blood alcohol tests are cheap and random drug tests for ALL of the above!

b

Alcohol is a legal substance. Marijuana and other drugs are not. I smoke weed but hey guess what I pay for it with my own money I earn from my own job. Why should I end up paying taxes from my job to let some jobless people smoke to their hearts content when they SHOULD be using that money to buy food and items for their children. Dont do any drugs while you receive govt help and you'll be fine. Do drugs and dont get money. Simple.

rewinn

This is the same Rick Scott who did over $600 MILLION in Medicaid fraud but never served a day in prison:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/2002-12-18-hca-settlement-_x.htm
The moral: smoke a joint, go hungry; rob half-a billion, make others go hungry!

Neil Baker

This is great. Now let's apply this to everyone getting unemployment checks!

boboboy

What a hoot! I would love to rub Rick's head with Crisco and bury him up to his neck on a beach near Miami. I wonder what fun people passing by might have with Der Kahle Nazi-Gouverneur?

dd

wow Rick unpopular Scott is handing Florida to Obama who will gladly accept it in 2012. Fair is fair, test everyone who receives any government money I mean everyone.

Aarael

This guy is a real joke and a fraud. No more Florida vacations for my family until he is gone.

melvintreversq

Finally! I'm sick and tired of the leaches and opportunists thinking the government "owes them" something. You take taxpaper money. We drug test you! Support your own drug habit. Watch how many people flunk the drug tests. I'm so sick and tired of people whining about drug addiction and alcoholism being a "disease". Wake up losers. Get a job. I'm happy to help the poor and needy. But not those that are poor and needy because they are loser druggies.

melvintreversq

Can't wait until this rule goes into effect NATIONWIDE!

Morales

So if I consume in Mexico, Netherlands, Marocco out of the state's reach of the law, I'll get punished for a deed done on foreign soil?

M.C

@ Morales - if you can afford to travel to all those countries, then you shouldn't be on assistance!

The idea on the surface seems like a good one, but this will cost taxpayers much more than it will save and Scott's past makes him suspect.

Florida has a history of misleading its voters; just look at the Lotto and how much actually goes to education (the platform used to get it approved).

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