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. Roy Gearhart

    I totally agee with this legislation...!!!! Most drug users use the welfare assistance to get drugs...i have seen this personally while volunteering at a social service organzation...Finally, a governor that has common sense and a backbone to do this....Congratulations...!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jim

    All in all, the best answer? End welfare as we know it.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. us1776

    Welfare was completely revamped under Clinton.

    Today it bears no resemblance to what most people still think of as welfare.

    There are tough rules. And time limits.

    Nobody is sitting on welfare doing drugs as in days gone by.

    People now have to get retraining and set out a plan for getting employed.

    What this scam-artist Rick Scott is doing is playing on this old stereotype that people have about welfare.

    And so he set his wife up as the owner of the drug testing company. And then he gets the GOP-controlled legislature to pass this law about having people on public assistance must get drug tested.

    All so he can funnel taxpayer money into his own family.

    That's all this guy has ever been about his entire life.

    He was CEO of a company that was found guilty of over $2 BILLION DOLLARS in Medicare fraud.

    You want to really save some tax dollar?

    You need to put guys like Rick Scott in prison and prevent them from stealing massive amounts of taxpayer money.


    June 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • FlMom3Boys

      FINALLY, THE REAL STORY! Rick Scott DID transfer ownership in the drug testing company to his WIFE. And then BUFFALOED all of the people posting for this measure. Way to GO! And guess WHERE most of the drugs on the streets of FL come from? Doctors! Yes, I said DOCTORS. And as I stated on the original story, ALCOHOL is not one of the drugs tested for on a 5 panel drug screen. So it is STILL OK to be on welfare and be a drunk! WAY TO GO Rick Scott!

      June 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • cckatter

      BULL! What welfare does is free up income for the drug abusers to spend on the drugs. I see this daily with my own flesh and blood-and you know what-the state doesn't care.o long as you qualify you continue to get your money...

      June 2, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Riley

      Not sure what planet you are on.... "Tough rules, time limits , nobody is sitting on welfare doing drugs" That's hysterical ! I'm from a state where the government pays people to be lazy. I deal with criminals day in day out and ALL of them except the dealers are on welfare! These folks don't work, never have and neither does anyone in their family. How many families do you know that each and every one has a disability so they each get a check?
      The chances of every family member being disabled or on welfare or some sort of government assistance is just as absurd as your comments! Funny how many folks are criminals, go to jail and are on disability! I hear this every day so I KNOW this for a fact! Time limit, rules – the people I know have been doing this for 20 years or longer! Is that considered a time limit ?

      June 3, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Daryl

      That is a big BS!

      June 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      Where does alcohol fit in to this thinking? do we test for alcohol? which probabaly is more devistating and widespread than any drug abuse..oh wait..Scotts wife can't make any money on that!!!

      June 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gadsden

    This is the best idea that a politician has come up with in a long time. I can't imagine any reasonable opposition to this bill. Taxpayers should not subsidize drug use. When Depo is mandatory to receive welfare as well, then we will have done a great benefit to society. There is no right to free money. If I want a pay check from my employer, I have to abide by their rules including passing drug tests. Welfare recipients are no different. If they don't want to take drug tests, they don't have to, they just won't get free money.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mom

    I think that the ACLU should not have to file for anything as I don't see drug abuse as a "civil liberty"
    Payment would come out of the welfare check.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jim

    FYI, business can be much more intrusive than this to employees. There have been people who have been fired from their jobs just for something they posted on facebook & nude/semi nude photos they've legally posted on the internet of themselves. It's not too much to ask for lazy bums not to use drugs, besides it's in their own best interest.

    June 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jim

    @Us1776, Sorry bud but you're wrong I see it every day. There's been no change in the way welfare works at all, and yes there is still generational welfare. I've seen way too much of it in my own neighborhood, keep living the lie though if that works for you.

    June 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. calliit

    Nothing ujnusual.People get good @what they do including the person that posted this story.Living in a glass house?

    June 3, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Michael

    Good Job! That is what our government is supposed to be doing. We should not be funding drug users with public money.
    If you don't want to take the test, then you have something to hide.
    If you are using drugs, then just maybe you might lose your kids, in which case they are better off in a stable home environment, instead of place where they are being used as drug funding kids to support their parents issues.
    Maybe the Gov will now end welfare for people that keep having kids, when they are still on welfare, and have babies just so they don't have to go back to work, if they have ever worked at all.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. AO

    oh yea! its about time, many of those people got to welfare because of drug use, maybe its time to stop and move on with your life..

    June 3, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. your losers

    See this would be ok if Rick Scott was a decent governor. The problem being is that he is not – he is only in it for the money he can bring to his family business. Rick Scott is nothing but a crook whose full intention is to fleece the State of FL. Instead of cutting his salary and bonuses during this "economic recession" he cuts the salarys of the state workes (you know those who make an average of $11 an hour) Way to go Rick Scott!! Keep cutting salaries and cutting education funding .... Drug test those welfare recipients .. that is way more important! Who cares about state workers or kids – not Rick Scott... worthless human being and a waste of air.. the quicker I move out of this state the better.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Ymag

      he may be a horrible governor, but this thought of making people on welfare drug test is a great idea.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ynot

    It is about time! They make employees take random drug tests, why not people receiving welfare/food assistance.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ymag

    I hope California gets the hint.... we need to do this!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DaninNH

    OK, Gov Scott's point, and many of your points (commentors) is No Govt support money w/out being clean of drugs. So, we should apply the same standards to all the Wall St bankers bailed out by taypayer dollars. To all employees of GM (taypayers still own $Billions of GM's worth). ALL the companies bailed out by taxpayer dollars should have, at least, their top execs routinely drug tested till not a penny is owed to the Fed. If drugs are found then the company should be forced to liquidate assets as needed to pay the Fed back Immediately!! Screw 'em if jobs are lost, ordinary people lose incomes, homes, families destroyed.
    No, of course you wouldn't go for that. As always, a different standard for the wealthy. I'm OK w/drug testing those on welfare, but not simply cutting them off if drugs are found. In spite of their drug habits many of these welfare recipients do manage to clothe, house, and feed their families. They need help, not a kick in the gut. I wonder how many of you who are cheering Scott still hit your kids when they make a mistake, kick your dog?? And Scott Damn sure shouldn't have ANY connection to making money off this new law. That is sickening!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. baze

    Agree about drug testing for welfare!!! Potential employers routinely test for drugs – as do schools for athletes – I see nothing wrong with it. If you don't want to be tested, don't get tested, but then don't apply for welfare.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
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