ACLU Sues to Stop Florida Welfare Drug Tests

Tim Mak, Politico, September 8, 2011

A new Florida law that requires welfare recipients to pass a drug test violates their constitutional rights, the American Civil Liberties Union is charging in a lawsuit.

The suit asserts that the mandatory drug testing is a violation of the right against unreasonable search and seizure.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the drug testing requirement into law in May, fulfilling one of his campaign promises.

Under Scott’s drug testing law, welfare applicants are required to pay for their own drug testing – about $30 to $35 – but are reimbursed if the tests are returned negative.

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The Florida governor had previously made drug tests mandatory for state employees, a decision he suspended when the ACLU sued him under similar grounds.

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  • underdog

    A lot of good taxpaying private sector employees have to pee in a cup at work in order to maintain their privilege to earn and pay taxes to fund bureaucrats and recipients of welfare benefits. Where’s the ACLU on that?

  • Anonymous

    I am a county employee in a decidedly blue state in the Midwest. I am required to take a drug test annually as I drive a county vehicle. This drug test is a condition of my employment.

    The Supreme court decided over 20 yrs ago that Unreasonable search and seizure is a government bullet to the back of the head (Tenn. Vs Garner)

    Why is it considered unreasonable to require that as a condition of receiving government income rather than working, that the government assures that the money is not wasted on drugs by testing the participant? We drug test high school athletes, pilots, cops, railroad engineers, why should the willfully idle get a free pass at our expense?

    I believe you are free to poison your life with whatever drug YOU pay for. But not on my dime. Never.

  • Question Diversity

    I might be wrong, but I read somewhere credible that not only is the cost of the test reimbursed if the person tests clean, but the person also gets extra benefits.

    As for ACLU reticence, this is probably a far afield theory, but I would not doubt at all if there was some sort of money trail between drug gangs and the ACLU. Maybe Wikileaks or LulzSec can prove.

  • HH

    These ACLU protests don’t even make sense(but do they ever?). There is no search or seizure going on, unreasonable or otherwise. Moreover, you are simply agreeing to various stipualtions in order to receive government hand-outs. If you don’t want the govt. in your business, then pull back your hand and don’t ask them for money. End of problem…

    This has nothing to do with the Constitution.

  • Hirsch

    If you look at some of the national crime aggregates on online bulletin boards, you would be amazed at the kinds of crimes parents on drugs commit against their children, placing them in microwave ovens or selling them for a few bags of cocaine or heroin. I think that drug testing welfare recipients, especially those with children, is a good idea.

    I and other veterans receive disability as a result of injuries incurred during the war or service. If we who are in great pain and have earned our money can forego street drugs, why can’t those who have not earned their money do the same?

  • June

    Hey, I can stop that in a New York minute. No test, no welfare.

  • White Guy In Japan

    The military requires random drug testing throughout one’s term of service. Servicemen handle sensitive equipment as well as explosives and firearms. Fair enough.

    Actually, I can almost see the ACLU’s point. The welfare system subsidizes people’s financial (and often reproductive) incompetence. Why expect them to take responsibility for anything else they do in life?

  • Anonymous

    Where in the Constitution does it say that every unable (or unwilling) person deserves government benefits…Crickets….crickets….crickets Oh ya it doesn’t. The ACLU has no grounds to file a lawsuit, Florida is not breaking any kind of law. Fictional or non-fictional what ever side of the isle one might wallow in. Since it is not in the constitution I have a great idea, get rid of the welfare system so the USA is no longer a welfare state. Sorry Europe your screwed, had have the cute idea of the socialist ‘EUROPEAN UNION’. Anyways, good luck when it falls apart within the next decade.

  • Anonymous

    I know they did urine testing in the military 17 years ago.Why not for these people..I’m sure there will be more positive tests than expected..

  • Allan

    If these characters can afford drugs, why do they need welfare?

  • Spartan24

    It is the old “disparate impact” thing again. The number of positive tests will be horrific so it is just safer to get the ACLU to sue since it will be mostly minorities who will be denied benefits. I still have to wonder how many of these people get the full ride welfare packages that they do. If a white family falls on hard times they usually do their best to pull together and cut back to make ends meet. When or if that doesnt work they try to apply for benefits and often they are told they “make too much money” or “they have too many assets” or some other nonsense by the minority welfare workers. It is all a way to keep the limited benefits from going to whites. Not to mention that you are penalized for being married and trying to do things right.

  • Istvan

    We just need just one state to stop participating in the TANF program and all the related benefits that go along with it. No welfare for any able-bodied adults between 18 and 60. ZIP. Being an unwed mother would NOT entitle one to welfare automatically like it does now. She could get a job or sue for support. Eliminating TANF would be the greatest economic boost to the state that had the guts to do so. They would go elsewhere when the benefits dried up. Less crime. Lower taxes. To dream.

  • Anonymous

    Question Diversity wrote:

    “As for ACLU reticence, this is probably a far afield theory, but I would not doubt at all if there was some sort of money trail between drug gangs and the ACLU. Maybe Wikileaks or LulzSec can prove.”

    It wouldn’t surprise me, but what kind of paper trail would that leave behind?

  • Question Diversity

    13:

    Point taken. This wouldn’t be as easy as the CPAs auditing XYZ Corporation to make sure its depreciation schedules for its corporate jet are square with GAAP. And it’s not like the Zetas or La Familia are mailing wads of cash to the ACLU’s Post Office box. If there is such a money trail, it would be an indirect thing, and it would take numerous intelligence assets, stool pidgeons, infiltrators and informants to prove. But if such a thing exists and is known, then you would think the State Department knows it, and if they know it, then it was on that “Lady Gaga CD,” waiting for Assange to leak it.

  • The Bobster

    A lot of good taxpaying private sector employees have to pee in a cup at work in order to maintain their privilege to earn and pay taxes to fund bureaucrats and recipients of welfare benefits. Where’s the ACLU on that?

    ______

    I’ll tell you where. Fifteen years ago, a plant manager at my company stupidly ordered non-random blood tests for alcohol on every non-union salaried professional employee on an adjoining site (even though they weren’t under his jurisdiction, there was no reasonable suspicion and it was against company policy) because a production union demanded it during contract negotiations. I was one of only two workers who fought it. When I asked the ACLU for assistance on Fourth Amendment grounds, they refused to take the case, saying it wasn’t part of their current agenda.

  • Anonymous

    These people are gonna fail the drug tests. Then they get no welfare. Then their children have to be put in foster care to keep them from starvation. Foster care costs the public more than the welfare being paid to their parents to (supposedly) care for and feed them at home. And don’t think that foster homes are any better for the children either–on the whole they are ridden with all kinds of abuse.

    I agree that something has to be done. I don’t use illegal substances and I don’t want to pay for somebody else’s “recreational experience.”

    I don’t want my tax burden raised.

    And we can’t have masses of American children dying of starvation in the streets either–so is there some other alternative?

  • Alexandra

    Since when is getting freebies a Constitutional right to begin with?

  • rjp

    5 — Hirsch wrote at 8:22 PM on September 9:

    I and other veterans receive disability as a result of injuries incurred during the war or service. If we who are in great pain and have earned our money can forego street drugs, why can’t those who have not earned their money do the same?

    If you were in the military, you pissed in a bottle while someone watched you actually do it. These people will go to a medical office and urinate in private behind a closed door while someone listens outside (no flushing allowed). These people will normally go to doctors (that like dealing) with a high volume of welfare patients and will be pretty lenient with the presciptions, which will be free to them too. They really have no need for illegal drugs because they can be legally doped up all day long. They have a problem with legal dope though. So they sell it. They buy crack and heroin.

  • Reformed

    I was in the military for 4 years with a job that had a clearance. I was taking urinalysis tests about 4 to 8 times a year. On 2 occasions I was randomly selected to take a urinalysis from the company that I was a part of at 4 in the afternoon and at 7 in the morning the following day the entire battalion, myself included, had to take another urinalysis test.

    Why should somebody on “welfare” not get a drug test, when every other federal and military employee has to take several a year?

  • white is right, black is whack

    What a bunch of baloney! It irks me even when whites are on welfare; not just nonwhites. If you’re on welfare, you have no skin in the game, and therefore shouldn’t get to vote. Simple.

  • Michael C. Scott

    If the Court says that welfare is a constitutional right, we are truly living in the End Times.

    We watch our spending, but then we aren’t also using hard drugs on the taxpayers’ nickel.

    I want off this ride. It’s not fun anymore.

  • Frank

    Solution: stop all welfare in Fl. What says they have to provide it?

  • sedonaman

    From the Original Article: “The ACLU suit was filed Tuesday on behalf of Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old Navy veteran and student at the University of Central Florida, who receives welfare.”

    The military has required drug testing for more than 35 years, so he must have been tested in the service. What is he going to do when he applies for a civilian job that requires a drug test?