Overheard on CNN.com: No welfare for drug users
Gov. Rick Scott signs legislation Tuesday requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.
June 1st, 2011
05:26 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: No welfare for drug users

Comment of the day: “Sorry, there is no constitutional right to free money. If you don't like it, you don't have to apply.”– LeaC24

Clean up for welfare

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. Scott said the measure saves tax dollars and provides "incentive to not use drugs,” but some Democratic lawmakers say the tests represent an "illegal invasion of personal privacy."

The story about the measure generated a lot of back and forth between CNN.com readers, though most readers said they support the legislation.

Phreaky said, “I'm a democrat and I fully support this law and wish it was nationwide. There is no excuse for drug users to receive government money because they are needy.” NJDoc responsed, “Many addicted individuals started their drug use because of their lack of income or a decent education. I am sure the ACLU will file an objection to this law and we will once again see tax dollars going towards legal battles instead of creating jobs."

LakewayJake said, “About damn time. This needs to be in place for all states. For those that feel this is an invasion of privacy, keep this in mind, no one is required to take the money. What's the difference between an employer mandating drug testing to be employed and /or stay employed?" huwie responded, “You just explained the difference. Athletes, employees, etc. are not on the government’s dime. They are paid by their PRIVATE employers. Do you know the difference between private and public?”

pinksunshine said, “As a person who was once on public assistance I see no problem with testing. I am a divorced mother of 4 and needed help. If drugs are what you use the assistance for you shouldn't be getting it in the first place.”

31459 said, “So what if they fail? Are they then criminally prosecuted? Sounds like self incrimination to me. If I were a drug using parent, I'd skip the test and the help for my children rather than risk creating a permanent record of my drug abuse.”

Baug said, "How dare Florida mandate that in order to receive assistance you need to make yourself more employable and set a better example for your children! That's downright disgusting! poln8r said, “Drug testing is required for many jobs these days, so why shouldn't someone who is receiving FREE MONEY from the taxpayers also undergo testing? opus512 responded, “So getting a job is exactly the same as getting welfare? There's no difference at all here? Really?”

soundoff14 said, "Thank you Governor Scott, this measure is long overdue. More power to you as you face the challenges to this common sense approach." Jim22 said, “What is it with democrats and their belief that nobody should be responsible? The tax payers have to pay for the mistakes others make in life and in a lot of cases we have to support them for life, yet nothing is expected of those who receive tax payer support. It sickens me!”

missj75 said, “As a taxpayer you should be upset about this law cause guess who's paying for all those drug test on top of the welfare benefits. YOU! Papagino responded, “@Missj – The taxpayers pay for the tests if the client passes them. The applicant is responsible for the cost of the test upfront.” And missj75 replied, “@Papagino: Yes and when a million people pass a test that cost anywhere from $50 to $90 then thats about $50,000,000 that taxpayers are forced to REIMBURSE them.”

Pity Paris?

Paris Hilton told CNN's Piers Morgan that the sex tape leaked by her boyfriend in 2003 was "the most embarrassing, humiliating thing" she has been through. During an appearance on Morgan's show last night, she also talked about her accomplishments and said that her life hasn’t always been easy.

More than 1,000 CNN.com readers posted comments about the heiress, most of them not very supportive, with most  saying the heiress is out of touch with how most people live.

100mbday responded, “ ‘Everything bad that could happen to a person has happened to me.’ This girl is so delusional it's almost to the point of being sad. She wouldn't know hard times if they jumped up and smacked her in the face.”

MaryInBoise said, “Everything bad that can happen to a person has happened to you, Paris? Do you mean that you've had to worry about whether to pay the rent or put food on your table? You've had to worry about whether you could afford your husband's epilepsy medications that he could die without? You've had to worry about whether you're going to lose your job at any time? Gee, I feel really sorry for you.”

Spritle said, “Poor Paris. She has been raped, beaten, tortured, lost her job, had her family murdered, and had to live on the street with nothing. She has suffered through a tornado, hurricane, and nuclear disaster.”

ifaponurmom said, “Yeah that one day in jail was so horrible. The house arrest was awful too. She has such a hard life.”

The heiress did have some defenders. rsttsr said, “Probably true, but I wonder what you or I would've done if we were brought up in extreme wealth like she had. Honestly, would you not see life in a completely different way? I have an issue with people that idolize her, not with her personally.” And Really49 said, “Come on. Let’s give credit where credit is due. She did appear to calm down after her sentencing whereas Lohan is still on self destruct mode.”

Online Hate

What do you do with virtual hate when you can’t respond face-to-face and hundreds if not thousands of people get to witness the aggression? CNN.com technology Netiquette columnists Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich shared their tips, including not engaging trolls - something CNN.com readers sometimes find tricky.

SSBlurpe said, “Yeah trolls at times can be pains, but they can also be entertaining. It's far worse to try to control comments or others to your thinking. It gets boring real fast.”

Guest said, “I am very glad that CNN is bringing up this topic for discussion because there is a real and ongoing problem with this Soundoff page. About 80 percent of the people who blog here are either spewing venom about topics unrelated to the subject at hand or they are nasty trolls who attack anywhere they feel they can exploit other people's weakness.”

uriel2013 said, “The digital disconnect allows people to say things they would never dare say to someone's face because they are just typing letters on a keyboard; they don't have to see the results of their rudeness. Then they can laugh about it because they think it is fun to be annoying. People being morons is nothing new, it was just more localized, where as now it can be global.”

MBane said, “A lot of times people get labeled as trolls just for posting an opinion that goes against the grain. Not everyone is a cookie cutter thinker. Not everyone wants a white picket fence and watches American Idol and because of that their opinions are quickly dismissed. In those cases, who's the troll?”

GQP2 said, “Most internet haters don't really hate, they are simply playing you and laughing about it."

npanth said, “I miss the days when a forum-goer would take up the challenge and flame a troll back to his thesaurus. Today, there's nothing to flame, no glory in putting down a troll who babbles nonsense."

toof987 said, “The solution to this is simple, but the implementation is not. Remove the ability to have anonymous posting.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (522 Responses)
  1. L

    Ok let me break it down for those who do not live in Florida, about our states assistance. First off I am a Florida resident, a tax payer, & on state assistance. UNLESS YOU'RE A MINOR APPLYING, THEN YOU WOULD HAVE TO STAY IN SCHOOL, YOU HAVE TO WORK IN ORDER TO RECIEVE STATE ASSISTANCE HERE IN FLORIDA!! IF YOU DON'T, YOU HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WORK PROGRAM!! You have to provide work income verification forms every 3 to 6 months. So many employers here do drug screening before hiring, so most of those that are on assistance do work, pay taxes as well, & had to pass a drug screen before working. So why are we doing this for again? I mean don't get me wrong, those who abuse drugs & abuse the system should be punished. Look, I have worked & payed taxes since I was 16, but the blow to the economy left us crippled & no option but to ask for assisntance. I believe that I payed taxes to fund state programs as such, so I should be able to use those funds when I need it the most, right? I believe that these kind of laws should be in place, but I believe Gov. Scott is going about it all wrong. Those who have been suspected of drug abuse or have had any type of drug convictions should be randomly drug screened at their expense, while on state assistance. But I guess that would be too much work for the state workers. The program is designed to help those in need & eventually off assistance. Don't believe that once these people are on assistance they will stay on it for the rest of their life, they only allow you a maximum of 60 MONTHS!! If I have to jump through more hoops to recieve assistance so be it, I have nothing to hide. So yes it does feel like a slap to the face. If you want to stop funding assistance for drug abusers that's fine, but do it the right way. I bet when the results come in you will all see a majority of those on assistance pass it.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthea Wilkinson

      I am a Florida employee. I believe in this. If crime goes up, at least our tax dollars will go to jobs and economical growth and not a crack pipe.

      October 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthea Wilkinson

      I am a Florida employee. I believe in this. If crime goes up, at least our tax dollars will go to jobs and economical growth and not a crack pipe.
      If you are working, why do you still need to collect Welfare?

      October 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jendar

    FINALLY!! At long last...I'm tired of my hard earned money going to drug addicts...If only California had this. Also...After this goes into affect, perhaps the Welfare-ATM cards could be upgraded so that they would not work in casinos or liquor stores...

    June 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Steve

    I agree with the idea of drug testing people on welfare, also believe we should further restrict the items they can buy, I cannot stand seeing people in convenience stores buying slushies, hot dogs, and candy with welfare benefits.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. KKCZ

    Let's be clear. There is No such thing as 'Government Money". It's OUR money the Government is using. I prefer Not to pay for someone's drug dependence.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. kathy

    if someone really need the help than they shouldnt have a problem being tested , exspecally if they are not doing anything, that is like me, i messed up when i lived in florida, got busted back in 2004 buying 20.00 worth of crack and been off of probation since 2007 and went threw drug tests and classes ,i live in alabama now and me and my husband who are both on disability, barley making it, apply for food stamps and was told i am permantely disqulified from the program, but they use my income to figure a big 16.00 worth of food stamps that my husband receives, i feel if someone is completly off of drugsm probation and everything and living their life right why cant they have a chance to prove they are clean ,

    June 6, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    Drug screening for welfare recipients is a great idea, but it will not work. The crime rate will no doubt rise, and extra police will be needed. It's a no win situation here. I say just leave it alone. The druggies will die off on their own. Nature finds a way to get rid of the filth.

    June 7, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • crybabytoo

      ur livin in dreamland buddy,u so stupid not to understand druggies aint going away our liberal votes has grown the drug usage by millions and ur children are next to shoot up with our stupid liberal views

      June 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthea Wilkinson

      Crime won't go up. I would like to know that my tax dollars are being applied to jobs and a growing economy, than to self-destructive behavior.

      October 14, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Evan

    This is clearly class based legislation if I've ever seen it. You want to get people off welfare? Do something do create jobs. Give people opportunities. All this law is gonna do for Florida and any other state it's brought to is increase crime. The government wastes our money blatantly with impunity over and over, but instead of scrutinizing the way they spend money, everyone decides to go attack the poor. This is the problem with society today. Everyone is so busy fighting for scraps under the table while there's a great feast being held directly over your head. The lions share of the money wasted by government(your tax money) is not spent on social welfare programs. This is a common misconception. Should we instead spend the money subsidizing big business to increase it's profit margin? Better yet, let's spend trillions of dollars policing the world and bombing other countries, but take the food out of the mouths of our starving people.

    June 10, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    Wait until the crime rate goes up as a result, then you will see Rick Scott scratching his head and beating the drum for more police. See don’t ever treat the problem, just cut it off and reap the rewards from such a great idea, right? I mean this law will just make them all stop doing drugs, and stay home at night to watch fox news while sipping on a cup of coffee in the evenings; or read to there children as they tuck them into bed at night. They will become model citizens who do what they are told for there welfare check.

    June 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lady

    Why make kids go hungry just cause their parents have addictions? Some people need help, So why make their Kids starve. Next, lilttle children will start committing crimes just to eat. What is this world coming to. God created marjuinina plants just like any other plant with seeds made for grown and mankind made it illegal,, Then have the nerves to talk about going to heaven and living right,, what they going to say to God when they see marjuinina in heaven, he need to cut it down,, haha I know what,, NO CREATION OF GOD SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!!!!!!!! Man made drugs should Be

    June 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Amanda

    I say Rick Scott for President! Finally, a realistic politician.... AMAZING

    June 28, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John Doe

    Gov. Rick Scott is a crystal meth dealing skin head. The only reason why he signed this legislation is to deflect the attention away from himself and point the finger at marijuana users when it is the crystal meth dealing skin heads who are the main offenders in our communities.

    July 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anthea Wilkinson

    I believe in the drug testing bill. I heard what the social worker said. She's an idiot. She just wants job security. She needs to be fired.
    I don't have a problem with my tax dollars being used to help others in need. I do NOT want my tax dollars to pay for somebody's "party". I believe we are only enabling the use of illegal drugs and alcoholism. I get drug tested regularly to be able to continue to work and be a decent member of society. Why should the people that we pay for have an issue, unless they are the ones who have something to hide?
    I believe this should be a federal law. I believe that by having this law, it will ensure the safety and security of kids. It will allow the opportunity for a decrease in illegal drug ause/addiction.
    I have a dear friend who stopped helping people in need. He became extremely angry while walking into homes and seeing people with crack pipes on the table and kids in dirty diapers. They were Welfare recipients and his church was helping needy people in the community. The recipients weren't even greatful that someone had just spent hundreds of dollars to fill their gas tank to provide heat for their family. They didn't appreciate the provisions provided and were rude to the people who took the time to try to help them.
    I believe in passing a law that requires ANYONE who needs TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE to survive, be drug tested. Most employers are required to drug test employees, why should the people who receive monies from the tax payers' not be required to do the same?

    October 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
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