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. Hilo, HI

    Democrats??? OH pahleese. I'm beyond liberal and 100% behind this Republican politician on this.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cali Girl

    Its about time. Wish they would pass this legislation in California.I think anyone who is able to work should be forced to accept any position that pays a wage. If they need help with day care or food because they do not make enough to support then provide assistance with child care and food stamps bu they need to find a job. If a teenager can work at Mickey D's then an adult can work there also. No shame in a hards day work

    June 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jim

    @angeldust, agree with much of what you say but you kind of contradicted yourself, in one sentence you suggested if they all got a job we'd be sc rewed-then in another you stated it should be mandatory that they get on their own two feet. I say if we're not going to make work then they should have to do a minimum 40 hours a week of community service of some sort.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jlil

    Hey, I had to take a drug test, as most employed people do, to get a paycheck, so should they, and ANY ADULT who receives government assistance. God bless the children – they are the victims of all this...............

    June 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jim

    Make them work,sorry.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Qev

    I'm all for it, but by his logic the same should go for state workers and state elected or appointed officials–including him. ANYONE who's receiving public taxpayer money...be it welfare, salary, or otherwise.

    June 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. In NY

    In NY, applying for public assistance, you are screened for a problem. If you show that you are at risk, you must have an evaluation and follow through with any recommendations the provider recommends. I see this as fair.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    Fair enough but drug test anyone that receives any form of taxpayer support including businesses, contractors, political leaders, doctors, judges etc. Do not single out people who seek aid in tough times. This guy Scott is nuts and he was the same way when I served on the HCA Hospital Board of Directors.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. jlil

    IN RESPONSE To: 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.”
    Oh, believe me, the money saved by the State of Florida will GREATLY exceed the cost to reimburse the drug testing.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. bruce USA

    It's like about time. I love it when money gets tight. We start seeing how things should be run all the time!!

    June 2, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. Amie

    Unfortunately, it is the children who will suffer. In one way or another.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • J B

      Sounds like a mandatory visit courtesy of CPS to me.

      Bad parents who can't care for their children should not have them. If they truly love their children, they'd straighten themselves up and provide a better future for them.

      June 2, 2011 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mikey

    The law by itself is OK with me...but where does this stop with this guy? Rick Scott is doing all sorts of things that he never addressed before he was voted in and the people of Florida are not happy with most of his strong arm tactics by going after the poor and the lower middle class while cutting corporate and ultra rich taxes down to near nothing. Besides, what do you so with people who are addicted or have a drug problem? Throw them away? No mention here of rehab or trying to help these people which will lead to a safer and more drug free society, but he is typical Tea party GOP. Care only about the rich and well off...the rest can fend for themselves. He will be recalled!

    June 2, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. dorondoron

    I quit smoking grass in 1985 because of drug testing at my job. I keep getting tested and now it's 2011. Do you want employment ? or do you want Government assistance ?, Either way get off your addiction if you want money from a job
    or from us tax payers. I had to make a decission to keep my Family in the life style they were used to so why shouldn't you the person living on handouts be subjected to the same demands to maintain your hand outs as I do to stay employed?.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. rcs_texas

    So what if they fail because they are addicted? Do you give them directions to an abandoned crack house where they can go to die? Is that what this country is about–people living in landfills, building shacks on the sides of highways. If you all want to live in the Phillippines, move there. How you treat the less fortunate in your country is your level of civilization. If you had to move to a country now outside the US, would you pick Phillippines or Sweden? That's the options we have before us Republican Capitalism (or corporate socialism) or Democratic Socialism (civilization). Whether you want beggers in every street corner or a civilized society is the choice. I like free schools, free roads, clean water, and my grandparents not begging on a corner for medicine money–all socialism. For the most puritanical industrialized nation, the US surely is not Christian.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. al

    This is fitting for the state of Florida if the protocol includes legally prescribed opiates or pain killers. Florida is the largest state in the U.S. that doesn't have a prescription drug monitoring program. Doctors in their state prescribed 5 times the nationally average of opiates. Florida's problem isn't street drugs but legal drugs.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
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