Governor Rick Scott signed into law an act requiring welfare recipients to submit to a drug test. Failure to pass could result in one full year of denied benefits.
In June, controversial Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed a bill into law requiring drug tests for applicants of low income, government assistance. Applicants for government welfare are required to pay for a drug screening upfront when applying. If the applicant passes the drug test, then the government will reimburse them for the cost. If the applicant fails the drug screening, they are ineligible for benefits for up to a year. The law does have some good provisions that avoid the worst of its potential abuses. For example if an applicant fails, a relative can apply for funding for the applicants children. It is a relief to me that Governor Scott is not punishing the innocent children of drug addicts.
Governor Scott released a statement saying the law did “the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs.” No one benefits when taxpayer dollars are going to fund a recipients self-destructive drug habit.
The ACLU has come out strongly against the law, and challenges government reports that claim welfare recipients are more likely to use drugs. In 2003 a similar law was struck down when the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found Michigan to be in violation of the 4th amendment. The ACLU also claims that the testing procedures would cost far more then any welfare money saved.
This law sets the precedent for testing everyone who receives government money. This includes every farmer, college student, government contractor, Senators and even Governor Scott himself. The Governor claims that welfare recipients are more likely to use drugs, when in fact drug use is spread fairly evenly across the class spectrum. Anyone who has been to college knows there are at least as many drugs there as in government housing projects
So, Governor Scott, will you stick to your guns and require everyone seeking Dederal cash to be drug tested or only the poor people? The only thing that is likely to really change, is that welfare recipients in Florida will now be spending their government checks on detoxifying kits as well as drugs.