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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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Extinct American

My husband works for the power co. and they are drug tested. Why should companies be paying out big money to drug users that get hurt on the job?

I don't make people sign up for FREE everything the gov. offers. If they want a free handout , then YES as a tax payer whos money pays for them to do drugs and stay home making babies . YOU BET I WANT THEM TESTED! It is MY RIGHT as the person paying their bills to require it.

Nelson

You guys need to vote this guy out of office before he destroys the wonderful state of Florida. His approval rating is 29%..what a mistake to vote that guy into office. This is the same GOP game plan to blame all of the problems in Florida on the poor people

DW

They need to drug test all the corporations and their employees who receive corporate welfare checks if they are going to do it to the citizens ... alot more money goes to corporations for their personal benefit than it does to citizens.

Common Sense Party

Love the woman above(Deb)above complaining about gov't worker salaries....pretty sure you won't be complaining when you get to retire with a pension at a pretty early age, or go and work in the private sector AND collect your pension. Don't like it, go get a private job...i hear they pay better(or maybe you can't so you are forced to do what your skill set demands). All relative ....

tony

morales, who has enough money to travel to a foreign soil and travel back to florida when they are on cash assistance??

If you are someone who does have enough to travel get wasted and come back to florida all on my dime i hope they do get caught !

John Q Public

I wonder what would happen if the public knew that most of the illegal drugs sold in Florida are produced in this slave labor work camp that has been growing produce for Publix supermarkets. This camp is not only over-looked by Florida law enforcement agencies, but supported and protected by their corrupt practices. Sign the petition. It won't make a bit of difference. This is a call to action.

http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-publix-to-sell-slave-free-tomatoes

AnonFloridalady

Obviously many people are going to have different views, here are some interesting things I've heard people mention.

"I don't want to give my tax dollars to people taking handouts."

True, we don't want to help people who won't help themselves. However, many of these people don't just sit in nice houses with their A/C jacked up eating sirloin steak and watching premium tv. Many people on welfare are struggling to get by, trying to find work in a business economy that supports overseas jobs vs local employees. Just like its a buyers market in realestate, its an employers market in jobs. Hoards of desperate people apply for jobs which means employers can treat workers however they wish with out fear of loosing money. Florida is especially difficult for its mix of transient population and welcoming climate. Many people choose to live in Florida and overcrowd the job market, apply for benefits etc etc.

"These drug tests will drive drug users to hard drugs instead of marijuana due to the time it takes to clean their systems."

In one way this is true. People determined to achieve a high will typically choose the easiest/cheapest high. Others will never be inclined to use other illegial substances. Some may substitute legal substances such as alcohal. I've yet to see a work place or state agency deny a drunk. I'm the type of person who couldn't care less if alcohal and nicotine were banned with other drugs, but I know I'm rarity. I have been a victum of drunken violence and the bad part is... when I called 911 the cops didn't even bother to arrest the man who left marks on me. While I don't support drug users, I was never attacked by a pot head.

"All welfare users do drugs"

An ignorant, self serving statement if I ever heard one. I don't even smoke cigarrettes or drink alcohol. (Except on events like New Years)
In fact, if you study the history of drugs, you'll find that drugs such as cocaine was always considered a "Rich Man's Drug", done by upperclass people at parties.

I feel generally uneasy about this. While I could pee in a cup right now and be fine, I shouldn't have to buy a drug test and then use mine-and others- tax dollars to reimburse my expense. It took a few months but I found a part time job. It pays less than my unemployment (part time work only) did. But its a job right? Till I find more work. So yes, I pay taxes and get food stamps. Does that make me a hypocrite?

Instead of focusing on laws that will drain taxpayer money in senseless ways, why not invest in long term solutions that benefit all? Look at whats happening to schools. Woodward elementary faced being shut down, longwood elementary is being shut down. Other schools are being shut down. We are actually shutting schools down faster than police can shut down meth labs.

I have met many old school hands on workers that can not use a computer for todays type of jobs but could build your house with the right tools. Its a sad state when people who made a living for 20+years are homeless because they can't open a text document.

What I would like to dedicate my tax to?

Keeping schools open
More dedication to student learning needs
Training centers to help people adapt to todays work environments.
Health clinics with Board Certified doctors to treat addiction diseases from alcohol to hard drugs (Perhaps have those who can't pay do volunteer work?)
Community Gardens and programs that help people grow their own food sources
Free or reduced fishing and hunting licenses for families in need of food. {I gather my own bait 'crabs, pin fish, etc' and fish...so you can self sustain without buying bait}

Those are just a few things I would gladly give taxes to....but nowhere on my list is "Drug Tests"

BTW, If drug testing was mandatory weekly-random for all government posotions I might make a donation towards it.

We should be able to drug test our politicians.

anon

If they had daily drugs tests for all Floridans there wouldn't be enough jails to put y'all in.

Pity.

Strategiqmindzllc

This society In America Has Become Beyond A Joke

Strategiqmindzllc

There's Many People Who Are Currently Receiving Benefits From The Government, But Isn't That The Way They Designed It, For Many People To Fail, some Are Losers HAHA!!!!, But Not All, and Let's Not Forget, That No One Is Exempt, Everyone Be Mindful

rosemerry

Why are US "lawmakers" so obsessed about personal decisions of drugs, cigarettes, sex etc? The financial help people need if there are not enough jobs should depend on the need, not the use of illegal drugs or coca cola or the crappy food Mercans eat.9

VLF1964

This is rich coming from a guy who had to pay a multi-million dollar fine to the government for Medicare fraud ...

A guy whose company he signed over to his wife in order to diminish an "appearance" of impropriety, yet said company stands to profit from this law ...

A guy who whines "less government" but wants to force people - without cause - to submit to drug tests so they can keep food on the table and a roof over their heads ... the same "less government" tool who just signed a law outlawing baggy pants ...

I hope the ACLU bankrupts Florida ...

To call Rick Scott a hypocritical and felonious subhuman does a disservice to true hypocritical felonious subhumans. He is beneath pond scum.

twanya mcgill

Rick Scott is insane. What about the children waiting to be feed while their parents wait for their results to come back.Are they going to be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner at his drug testing clinics. What about the upfront cost they have to pay. Oh wait that was dinner. So not only are you making hungry children wait for the test results they have to starve that same day. Wow. did we ever get Rick Scott to answer question about his indictment issues? Thats right his private life was private!!!

Teluu

Who pays for the cost of the test. If that cost of testing alone will not bankrupt the system they're trying to save.

Wolfboi1970

Way to go Florida!!! I am proud to see a stance being made on the "hand-outs" its not a right, its a PRIVLAGE. I am a social liberal/ fiscal conservative (huge Clinton lover) and I think these types of things should also apply to food-stamps as well. The argument it hurts kids holds no water, being an EX-ADDICT myself clean 6 yrs now, I can tell you the first thing you do when you get food stamps is goto a "corner store" that buys your food stamps at 75-50 cents on the dollar...CASH MONEY IN ONE LUMP SUM,... then next stop... your dealer to shoot the whole wad at once, next....PARTY HARDY.... let me fill you whiners in saying it hurts the kids by denying cash and food-stamps to addicts.....THE KIDS NEVER....NEVER....NEVER.... GET ANY OF THE ASSISTANCE THAT IS GIVEN IN THE FORM OF MONEY/FOODSTAMPS, THAT "ASSISTANCE" IS DRUG ASSISTANCE AND GOES TO THE DRUG DEALERS, ALLLLLLLL OF IT, IS TO GET HIGH.... THR ONLY WAY TO HELP AND ASSIST KIDS OF ADDICTS IS TO GIVE THEM ACTUAL FOOD AT FOOD BANKS, ACTUAL CLOTHES ETC.... AND EVEN THEN A DESPERATE ADDICT WILL TRY AND SELL WHAT THEY CAN OF THOSE THINGS. Soooo way to go Florida... no drug test....no help, and they should add on the law, 3rd time, banned for life from help. The only people that will loose out on revenue is the drug dealers... and the excuse that we shouldn't take the assistance away because crime will go up, IS THE MOST ASSANINE, STUPID, INSANE, RIDDICULOUS EXCUSE I HAVE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE.... SO WE SHOULD GIVE THEM WHAT EVER THEY WANT AND ON THEIR TERMS...JUST SO THEY DONT ROB US?!!??!?! WTF, I cant even begin to say how WRONG that line of thinking is.

Skyhawk maintainer

Forget the little people, it's the law makers who should fill the bottle.

Aleks

Florida elects the people it deserves

Michael Moore

The poor are being treated as criminals under this law? I know I'm treated like a criminal every time I get on a plane. I also know I had to be tested for drugs for every job I was ever hired for. What makes welfare recipients so special? Let the golden showers begin :-)

Alex

So all you liberal morons that have commented against Gov. Scott's new law would rather give your tax dollars in the form of a welfare check to someone that sits around on their porch smoking weed all day because they have no INCENTIVE to get a job. You call Governor Scott a fascist? Seems to me you are all Socialists. FYI, look at what happened to the Soviet Union: Socialism doesnt work!!! Stop sympathizing with lazy welfare check-cashers and tell them to get a damn job like the rest of us!

dwd

Want to hear something funny MC? I've gotten a lot of complaints in my pharmacy because people on welfare who are taking vacation in other states or countries don't get medical benefits in whatever area they are vacationing.

This will be deemed unconstitutional like it always has, despite the fact that our Navy/Army/Air Force/Marines/Coast Guard get tested every time they get reassigned, tested at random, AND test lockdowns, which requires you to submit your pee before you can leave, everyone is locked in at work. These are the people that fight and die for our country. Yes some do drugs, just like everywhere else, but no where at the percentage that justifies the amount of testing the military does. Welfare(ers) wants to complain that my pee is a unlawful search because it is humiliating and could tell you more than you need to know about me, despite the fact that it doesn't unless you are specifically testing for it (pregnancy for example). Is it necessary due to its cost? Well, that depends on how it is initiated and how many are actually doing drugs.

Dana Eddy

So let me ask you a question.... Since drug addiction is considered a disease like alcoholism is considered a disease, isn't this tantamount to saying "Yeah we'll help you out, as long as you're not sick."?

Tammy

Why would ANYONE who is paying taxes and ANYONE who is clean and sober have a problem with this? Welfare is a wonderful ABUSED system, maybe a little more tougher laws will get it back to what it is intended for to help someone get on or back on their feet and not use it as a way of life. I for one hope my state adopts this and I also hope the Social Security department adopts this, right now this very exact minute I have a sister in llaw high off her butt from drugs she bought with the money she got for Social Security disability (over $600.00/month + $1000.00 quarterly retroactive from when she applied) and YES I have reported it and NO they haven't done a damn thing. So when you complain that there shouldn't be drug testing think of all of the elderly eatting catfood (and they do) not being able to pay their bill because some drug addict is "stealing" their money. Think of the money people are getting from the state and buying drugs from drug dealers keeping them in business so they can sell drugs to your kid or mine. Welfare is great for those who need it but let's get it back on track to what it is intended for and thats not crack, coke, pot or any other illegal drug. Okay you nay sayers can all tear me apart now.

Paul in NJ

The ACLU is blowing smoke – no pun intended – and they know it. The Federal government is infamous for attaching conditions to anyone who takes taxpayer money. States have done so as well -- and courts have consistently upheld such laws.

Those who call yourself liberal: You don't seem to mind 'strings attached' when our money is given to charter or religious schools. How is this different?

William

and the kids,....caught in the crossfire.

Camille

All of you who think this will remove drug addicts from collecting welfare need a reality check. All the hard drugs are cleared from the body in about 3 days. Just the pot heads will get caught.

I can't believe he cut some really good programs to finance something as stupid as this. Technically Florida doesn't have welfare anyway. There is no money given out to the poor.

Cathy

People that apply for welfare are not leeches. They are citizens most of whom have paid into the system and are receiving what should be the right of every human being, the right to survive. In the current economic crisis, there are more and more laid off workers or those who cannot make enough to feed their families. I suggest that we take back the wealth from the owning class who stole it from the workers. And test all elected officials that are making war on the working class. I've seen some of these rascals up close and personal and they buy designer drugs and laugh at all you idiots who blame your fellow workers for everything because you haven't been educated properly. When you find yourself standing in the unemployment lines or soup kitchen line, I hope you will remember how you treated those you find yourselves among. This system is not coming back, jobs are gone forever and more will disappear, maybe yours. So, get real and join your comrades and fight for restoration of social benefits, and tax the rich and wealthy corporations. P.S. I lived in Florida and I wouldn't give you a bucket of cold spit for the entire state!

Robert

I assume this is for folks getting cash bennies. I am disabled and take 5 legal meds one that can test positive for pot. These tests will be $50.00 tests that have a less than $10.00 cost and can be beaten by simple dilution with water. The test is also very inaccurate at this price level. The only true way to test is Hair and that is expensive. But, why is it that our politicans are not subject to drug testing or alcohol abuse, and highly paid execs at corporations are not subject to this testing. I understand testing people for illegal drug use, but unless everyone is included then it is discrimination. A Congress can vote to send a solider into war and die or be mamed for life and he or she has to be tested,however, the people putting the solider in harms way are exempt from the testing. How do we know that the Congressmen are not makiing bad decisions because they are drunks, whoremongers and snorting cocaine. As for those who call people on assitance "Losers" if you have kids and make around 40k a year you probably qualify for food stamps. There will always have to be people in low pay jobs and those who make a ton of money, just like in a game there is always a winner and a loser. So I guess these loser comments are coming from wealthy pigs in glass houses. Try to find work when you are 55 years old, which by the way is just about the time the person you trained gets your job. The discrimination is even worse if you are disabled.

Stephen

It seems that when you don't have anything to worry about, taking a drug test is not an issue.

A.E.S.

I am not from Florida, but passing this bill makes me want to be! I am sick and tired of those people who abuse the welfare system! Many employers now require random drug testing in order to keep your job, so I don't think it should be any different for those who are on welfare. If you are an honest law abiding citizen then you shouldn't have anything to worry or complain about. As far as I'm concerned, I don't want my tax dollars to be paying for some dead beat's ILLEGAL drug habit!!

James H Humphrey

Way to go, so many people are complaining about the drug tests, I wonder how many are getting money and buying drugs - A WHOLE BUNCH! How many people are drawing welfare and buying lotto tickes - A WHOLE BUNCH. Most people have random drugs tests to be employed, If I have to be tested to earn money = YOU should be drug tested to get free money! I DON'T USE DRUGS, I don't mind the tests! If you don't like the tests, I wonder why? Blaiming Rick Scott is just an excuse for your drug use, get over it!

Max Haden

Last I checked, illegal drugs are still illegal. So if you are using them, you are not entitled to free government money. Hell, I bet 90% of all crime is drug related. I say if someone shows up for welfare and flunks the drug test, throw them in jail... thereby solving 2 problems at one time. I bet the only ones complaining about this new law are drug users, and they can go to H#%%.

Rob Wane

The addiction phase can be self-destructive as you may begin to lose focus n life and your zeal for life because you continuously want to live in your state of absolute peace and calm.

PE

Some of you really amaze me. You haven't even read the provisions of the law. No child will be denied benefits. Read it, THEN make your comments.....

george

people need to wake up we need this law in half the people that have responded to this has no idea about a job . there is a lot of company's that you have to take a random drug test and if you refuse you will loose your job .

Kenny

I'm completely shocked at all the negativity. We are finally patching a gaping hole in our welfare system, and nearly everything I'm reading hear screams "I want my welfare check so I can buy another hit on my crack pipe". I'm a law-abiding, working taxpayer, and I had to pass a drug test to get my job, and I also have to pass random tests to keep it. The law is NOT treating people like criminals - it's treating them like a state employee - only these employees get paid for doing nothing. Do I agree with the way the drug testing is being handled or with which company the state chooses to contract its testing? Maybe not. I haven't had time to truly research and examine all the beaurocratic legal-speak involved in that, but that's another issue.

The concept is what's at point here, and the fact that Florida is requiring welfare recipients to meet the same criteria to recieve my tax dollars as I had to meet to earn it, is a step in the right direction - period. Today, I'm proud to be a Floridian (despite the fact that I would prefer a new governor).

Chelsea

All of you who said it would hurt the children should probably read the article. I am not completely educated on this topic and I am currently researching this for a speech I have to give. But at least I know how to read an article. Calling people uneducated when you yourself have no idea what you are talking about. Anyway it specifically says...

"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."


Adam

this is obviously flawed but a great idea. if they have extra money to buy drugs then they didnt need as much assistance as theyve received. one person above just said this should be reversed because meth heads will sell food stamps for drugs and their children will starve....well they arent fit parents and those children should be removed from the home anyway. anyone who is truly trying to care for their family will have no problem with this, and for the addicted...its sad it is but if they arent clean they also should not have their children i know from personal family experience. and if they happen to relapse they can wait to take the test after detoxing, most drugs wont stay in your system all that long. good luck to everyone involved

Ronald N. Roy

I live in NH and over 75% of the people I know, who are on some form of taxpayer assistance, spend half their time partying! I resent having to pay for their alcohol and other drugs to party! Drug testing should be mandatory for all welfare recipients.

Drug Test Friend

If Rick Scott's wants to drug test someone, he should start with his own office.

fred

I think we should test all the Whiners here and all politicans ...

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