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. JerryNFlorida

    Governor Scott, I APPLAUD you! About time some had the "cojones" to do what is right.

    Right on!!!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Diz

    Unfortunately, the ones who will suffer the most are the children. Without welfare the little money spent on food will all go to drugs. Because you and I don't like that they do drugs is besides the point- it's going to hurt the CHILDREN the most. Rick Scott is the WORST person I could have imagined for our governor... (and not just bcs of this) and did you know his own company Solantic will be profiting quite well from this legislation? I cannot BELIEVE that this has passed with no questions asked?!?!?!? Regardless of my personal opinion, HOW can we allow our government officials to make decisions that will personally benefit them?! Talk about the bottom line... how bout a discussion on THAT?!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patricia

      Diz, please elaborate more or direct me to a website where I can read more about this. I'm on the fence on this legislation.

      June 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kayla

      You are so right! As usual they are always the casualties of the government!!!

      June 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 112321

    This is all well and good but what about the money we give away around the world? Is anyone for sure what that money is spent on?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • EspressoJoe

      I agree with that, I am so sick of hearing how much we send to other countries and then the next breath our TRILLION dollar deficit.

      June 2, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. joe schmuchatelli

    Anyone know what company will be contracted to supply/perform the tests?

    June 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moni G

    You know, what we do now is not working. I think it's worth a try.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kayla

    You can't put people who need help into one category...rich people have plenty of drug problems too!!! Suck on your new law Mr. Scott!

    June 1, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Duane W

    My EX wife is an alcoholic and get's social security from the Fed's for it, $600 per month. She pays no child support, has no job and isn't forced to look. Someone in our government needs to step up and stop this abuse.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeepers

    I lean more left and I'm ok with this. It's common sense. The fact that the government knows how much money we make so they know how much to tax us for is an invasion of privacy too if you think about it. That's just not even polite conversation material.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ronnie Harper

    What about the kids that use that money for formula or lunch at school? I would rather eat mud than go to Florida, what a junkhole, full of corporatists and old haters. This guy Rick Scott is a horrible politician, and sounds like a mean and vindictive person, to boot.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Muzyck

    So this means the members of the House and Senate will take these tests too? They don't do any work either.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Moni G


    Drug addicts almost never feed their children first. Addiction means you only think of your own needs. I knew a woman so thrilled that she was pregnant. But she was exited, not for the reasons that you would think. She was excited because she'd get more money for drugs. The extra money provided by the state did not go towards her baby; it was sad sad sad. Maybe its time to get tough and take the children from these addicts and let them face the hard consequences of their decisions. e. Maybe now after decades of wasted lives and countless deaths, it's time for some really tough love.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jack

    So if you're out of work mother of two who smoked a joint a week ago you're out of luck. But if you're a single alcoholic with no dependents, well you're welcome to all the Govt. cheese you can handle.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • abby

      therein lies the dilemma - how about the folks getting SSI because they're "obese"

      June 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. abby

    someone tests positive for drugs – no welfare – who takes care of the children? does the gov't plan to remove them from the home? turn them over to another relative? will that relative be tested for drug use? the list goes on and on...

    June 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rachel

    The children of drug users still have to eat. I hope the ramifications have been considered.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • MizFurball in Oregon

      Junkies and meth/crack heads don't care if their children eat. The welfare money goes for drugs. They will sell food stamps to get money for drugs.

      June 2, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. Used to be a liberal

    Great. Now it's time to require birth control as well. I'm tired of paying for other people to have kids I stopped having because I couldn't afford them. And let's make it a rule that any child born on welfare gets dna tested so daddy actually has to pay.

    June 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • IowaVoter

      You are totally right. Poor people shouldn't be allowed to procreate. Their children are just going to grow up to be drug addicts anyway... right?

      We should take EVERYTHING away from poor people, children, drugs, beer, soda, cigarettes, tv and internet. Maybe THAT will teach them not to be poor. IN FACT, all poor people should be spayed and neutered like dogs... or mandatory abortions if you get pregnant and don't make over 30K a year. Maybe we can make all the poor people commit suicide because we've taken everything away from them and then we won't have any poor people left.

      Empathy? Dead.

      June 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MizFurball in Oregon

      @IowaVoter: UsedtobeaLiberal didn't say take it away. S/he said the dad has to pay for his children.

      June 2, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
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