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DCF advances legal push for drug-testing welfare applicants

Florida’s Department of Children and Families furthered its legal push for drug-testing welfare applicants this week, asking for a federal judge to grant a motion of summary judgment in favor of the program.

A federal judge put a hold on the program last year after a University of Central Florida student sued the state, calling the law unconstitutional. The judge indicated that the student, Luis Lebron, had a good chance of winning his case based on the Fourth Amendment.

The law has not been enforced since that injunction, but DCF wants a judge to move forward and make a ruling. Gov. Rick Scott has advocated for the practice, as well as drug-testing state workers.

In its motion for summary judgment, the state argued that drug testing for welfare applicants should be found legal based on several grounds, including:

  •  Consent to drug test is voluntary, and applicants are not forced to undergo the urinalysis. The drug test is only required if people want to receive government benefits.
  • The state has a “special need” to conduct the “search,”
  • Drug use is an impediment to gaining and keeping employment
  • The reasonable expectations of privacy are “sharply reduced” due to the fact that this is a government program

 You can read the full motion for summary judgment, which includes other arguments, here:



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You get drug tested to keep a job. Why not have to get drug tested to keep a handout?

bryan jaminal

Florida is still wasting money. Even though they've shown that testing welfare recipients cost the state more money than it saves because so few actually fail the drug tests.

Why not test Congress and local legislative branches? Since they get even more money from the public?

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