Florida Refuses to Drug Test Welfare Patients

Earlier this year, Florida Governor, Rick Scott’s controversial law that required all Floridians opting for welfare benefits and assistance to undergo a mandatory drug test was deemed as irrelevant, unconstitutional and not in the interest of the state, by the state courts.

Although the law has always been a top priority for the Republicans, the ruling on mandatory drug tests for all welfare seekers was deemed as unconstitutional by two federal courts. Howard Simon, the Executive Director of American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, termed the law as an ugly attack on Floridians.

Since 2011, the controversial ruling has been a subject of heated debate in all the lower courts of Florida. Analysts and experts opined that the ruling was just to score political points at the cost of Florida’s poor and treat them like suspected criminals without any valid suspicion, let alone concrete evidence.

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven, in Orlando, declared a law that required welfare applicants to submit a urine sample as an unconstitutional search and seizure attempt – a notion that was also upheld by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2014. Scriven and the court did not find any evidence that correlates pervasive drug problem in the poor and disabled with their need to apply for Temporary Assistance.

The ACLU had challenged the law last year on behalf of Luis Lebron, an Orlando-based veteran and a single father who refused to submit a urine sample. Furthermore, the 11th Circuit also observed that only 2.6% of Floridian welfare applicants failed the drug testing during the four months in which the ruling was put into effect.

Another of Scott’s drug-testing laws, that required random drug tests for hundreds of state workers, was also dismissed by a Miami-based Federal Judge. However, the 11th Circuit Court later reversed the judge’s decision in-part. Some state-level employees work at sensitive jobs and, therefore, must be drug-tested owing to the nature of their jobs and the confidentiality of the information dealt with.

A spokesman for the Governor stated that they do not intend to appeal this case. The Governor will continue to protect the children in Florida in any and every way that he can and create a congenial environment for families and job applicants to pursue all their dreams in a safer community. The final decision, with regards to mandatory drug testing for welfare applicants, remains in question.

To learn more about Florida drug test laws and how they can affect you, contact Binary Health Services today!



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