With a stroke of Rick Scott's pen, welfare recipients will now be forced to submit to drug testing in order to get benefits. Scott signed the controversial forced drug testing into law today. Under the new law, Scott says taxpayers are protected from wasteful spending, his one size fits all talking point used to justify his spending cuts.
Before they can receive benefits, recipients will have to submit blood, hair, or urine samples for the tests. They'll also have to pay for the tests themselves out of pocket until the results prove that they aren't drug users. Only then will the state reimburse them. Should they test positive, they will be banned from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families for six months, and three years if a subsequent second test is also positive.
The law is controversial for obvious reasons, and will face challenges from ACLU Florida. The organization has suggested they may sue the state over the law.
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."
According to Scott's new law, there is at least one way for applicants to avoid the drug testing.
Simply don't apply for benefits.