Welfare Recipients Have To Pay Out of Pocket For Mandatory Drug Tests In Florida

Florida Governor Rick Scott may have handed over his interest in a medical company that would benefit from mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients (and by hand over, I mean give the shares to his wife), but that didn’t stop him from approving a bill forcing the poor to prove they aren’t on drugs to get welfare benefits.

CNN.com reports:

Saying it is “unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed legislation requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.

“It’s the right thing for taxpayers,” Scott said after signing the measure. “It’s 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.”

Scott was previously a shareholder in a company that specializes in drug testing, before turning the shares over to his wife, instead.  He more recently sold the stock, before singing the bill into law, and has pledged that the company will not vie for state government contracts.

There were two large issues with the proposal to test all welfare recipients.  First that mandatory drug testing is a violation of privacy and civil rights, and secondly, that mandatory testing is expensive, potentially costing the state more money than it would save.

Scott thinks he found a way to deal with the second issue — charge the people requesting benefits for their own testing.  If they pass, they get reimbursed. 

Yes, Governor Scott wants the poor to pay money in order to get welfare.  Apparently you now have to put out a downpayment for government assistance.

Even with the “money back” process, mandatory drug testing is of course highly unconstitutional, and the ACLU is already taking action to sue, saying it violates the fourth amendment.

photo from By State of Florida (http://www.flgov.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

218 comments

William C
William C12 days ago

Thanks for the information.

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W. C
W. C13 days ago

Thank you for the article.

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Kathy M.
Kathy M.6 years ago

Martha E: What we used to be is a country where everyone pulled their own weight. Now it's become a country where everyone wants a handout. Plenty of people on welfare have no business being on welfare. If a woman gets pregnant with a child she knows she cannot afford, that is HER fault. She is not a poor victim of circumstance. People need to take responsibility for themselves or suffer the consequences.

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Teri J.
Teri Jo S6 years ago

If people are not using drugs and genuinely need help, I don't think they would oppose taking a drug test.

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Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane6 years ago

DON I: Also I HOPE YOUR state breaks off and floats away say to "communist China!"

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Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane6 years ago

To DON I.: So you are yet ANOTHER IGNORANT whom actually thinks POOR folks are tax EXEMPT huh? WOW! No wonder our country is so messed up! EVERY person in THIS country PAYS taxes working or NOT! you pay taxes on your rent monthly/mortgage loan and you property, on your car, insurance, non-food items etc. for LIFE my dear IGNORANT fellow American! ABOLISH the IRS! OUR taxes are NOT being used for what they are SUPPOSED to be used for!

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Kimberly Crane
Kimberly Crane6 years ago

Oh yeah that $138.00 a month will pay their bills, rent/mortgage, insurance, food etc. they think that amount will support a month's drug habit??? That $138.00 a month would supply a drug user for about a day! The IGNORANT keep breeding their Insanity genes! They just WANT OUR tax dollars for THEIR agenda ( their bankster/ corporate oil ( subsidized), nuclear ( subsidized) they are ROBBERS)! They will do anything, because they know the IGNORANT will follow suit, as they ALWAYS have. Hence: How we came to be here!!!!!! ABOLISH the FED/IRS !!!!

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jane richmond
jane r6 years ago

the state giveth and taketh away.

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Martha Eberle
Martha E6 years ago

The voting astounded me. I knew there would be some intolerant to vote "yes", but 35%?! It continues -- ignorant people who think they know why poor people are poor. I can hear the same old arguments that it's their fault. Most "poor" are that way through a myriad of circumstances that they have very little control over, and it becomes a cycle. It's much easier to make good if you have some money to start with. And these days, there are "middle class" who have joined the ranks of the traditionally poor, because of job loss, housing loss. There is only so much "pulling one up by one's bootstraps" that can be done. We're all in this together, folks. We used to be a nation who knew that, who helped one another. "Assuming" drug use and having an already poor person pay to satisfy the state's curiosity, is obscene. Not a week goes by, that I don't hear some outrage from the FL governor. The worst governor in the U.S., and I'm from Texas where ours is running a close second.

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Don Isaksen
Don I6 years ago

I can't believe the comments being made by most of the people who are against testing welfare recipients for drug usage before authorizing them to recieve the benefits. Doing so is NOT going to stigmatize or degrade anyone that expects to recieve benefits being paid for by other peoples tax dollars. If a person has enough money to support a drug habit, and they choose to use their money for that purpose, they shouldn't be eligable to receive any form of government assistance. Requiring potential welfare recipients to take a drug test certainly is NOT against anybodies Constitutional Rights. Like any other law that requires people to give personal information, or take drug or alcohol testing, there would be no violation of a persons rights to require drug testing for this purpose also. As with taking a mandatory sobriety test if you are believed to have been driving under the influence, the person applying for welfare assistance, has the same choices available to them. They can take the test and receive the benefits if the pass , or they can refuse the test and have no chance of receiving any benefits. I can tell you there is pressure in other States to pass the same type of laws. I really hope my State is going to be one of them.

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