Florida government defends requiring drug tests for welfare recipients
Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, supports drug testing for Floridians who want to receive welfare benefits.
June 5th, 2011
01:07 PM ET

Florida government defends requiring drug tests for welfare recipients

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is defending recent legislation that requires adults in the state applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screenings, saying the law provides "personal accountability."

"It's not right for taxpayer money to be paying for somebody's drug addiction," Scott said on CNN on Sunday. "On top of that, this is going to increase personal responsibility, personal accountability. We shouldn't be subsidizing people's addiction."

But the ACLU of Florida disagrees. It has already filed suit against Scott over a measure requiring government employees to undergo random drug testing. It says it may sue over the welfare law as well.

"What (Scott) is doing is giving ugly legitimacy to an unfortunate stereotype that has been in this country for a couple of decades - that all welfare recipients are a bunch of drug abusers," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

Scott told CNN he wants to ensure that welfare funds go to their primary target - to disadvantaged children - and provide people with an incentive not to use drugs. He signed the measure on June 1, calling it "the right thing for taxpayers."

Under the law, which takes effect on July 1, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services will be required to conduct the drug tests on adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The aid recipients would be responsible for the cost of the screening, which they would recoup in their assistance if they qualify.

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Filed under: Florida • Politics
soundoff (637 Responses)
  1. Larner

    Rick Scott is an idiot. Every executive decision he's made will turn Florida into even more of a toilet in the long run...no wonder all of his businesses failed. Living in Tampa, I've seen his handiwork in action, so excuse me if I'm a little wary of anything he does. What a joke. Random drug testing for state employees as well? Because ya know, they're a bunch of drug addicts too...you'd have to be to work under him. No, feel free to waste all the time and resources you want, Scott. Not like you're accepting Federal money anyway, so go ahead.

    June 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dudley

      Are you on drugs? Are you mad because your welfare benefits will be terminated? You are the one who sounds like the idiot!

      June 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kristin

    what does having a half black relative have ANYTHING to do with the subject at hand? complete idiot!

    June 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get-It-Right


      June 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thomas

    Nice little troll you are.

    June 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nikki

    Thank God that someone finally had the balls to put something like this into legislation. No one complains when they have to submit to drug tests before they get a job or random drug test to keep there jobs. Why should it be any different for welfare receipients. I'm not saying every disadvantaged person is a drug addict, but alot our and if an employee of a company can be fired for failing a drug test, I think a welfare receipient should be kicked out of the system if they fail one as well. I hope PA follows in these foot steps. I know I personally am tired of supporting welfare abusers.

    June 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. siobhan

    its about time, welfare has ceased being a crutch and has become a generation wide profession. i`m sick of paying taxes so other people can abuse the system! good work florida!! i only hope pennsylvania gets on board soon!

    June 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sam

    Oh, to those mad about not all those on welfare are drug abusers this statement is true, and because they ARENT they shouldnt have a problem right??? There clean whats the problem? I am currently getting food stamps and i say lets do it! I have a job im paying taxes also just needing a little help with my baby till i finish college i wont be offended or mad if i had to take one, only ones mad are the ones who would probably fail it because there on drugs , lets do it in every state!

    June 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jill

      Thank you! You are so right! You are someone that deserves it! If there's nothing to hide, it shouldn't be a problem.

      June 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Sounds like you are USING the system Sam....not ABUSING it. These programs are supposed to be in place as a TEMPORARY support for people in situations just like yours! Best of luck to you and your family as you continue your schooling!

      June 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ashlee

    I agree with this law that Scott has enforced. Although ACLU makes a valid point, the unfortunate stereotype about welfare recipients is true for some. Needless to say, if you aren't doing drugs (and don't fall into the stereotype), then you don't have anything to worry about with the drug testing. I hope to see more states passing this law. I feel like this could be a good thing for those recipients who may be on drugs. This could push them to get off of their drug addiction. This would lead to them being able to get a job because they could then pass the drug tests that jobs provide. I believe it's an overall win for everyone.

    June 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lolita

    I think the ACLU is out of control. I can see if civil rights are being abused. In this case they are NOT. If employees in ANY company has to submit to drug testing then its only fare that welfare recipients should. The ACLU should butt out!!!

    June 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lolita

    youre an idiot what does color have to do with it. I refuse to have tax dollars being paid to drug addicts of any color

    June 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy M

      I completely agree!

      June 10, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. RogueRedhead

    OMG!!! A politician who is actually making some sense!! Be still my heart! I know I stand a chance of being drug tested on my job – why shouldn't the people whose very existence I am paying for have to do the same thing??? I don't want to pay for drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, tattoos or steaks for dog food!! Standing in line at a grocery store when the clerk told the food stamp bearer in front of me that he couldn't pay for dog food with food stamps so he went back and got beef and told her his dog would eat well!! Our government has just been stupid and it is time it stopped!!

    June 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 2 Cents

    II agree with it, however I think that Governor Scott's a little delusional and not thinking this plan through. "he wants to ensure that welfare funds go to their primary target – to disadvantaged children" . Not all families using this are drug users and there are worse drugs out their than marijuana middle class and lower class america are being affected by meth and crack. AND WHAT ABOUT ALCOHOLICS they can sit home and drink and collect because alcohol is their drug of choice and legal???? ALCOHOLISM is something that should be monitored even if it is legal and I guarantee the percentage of alcoholics are way higher than drug abusers. what about these children He's wanting to help ~addiction is a very sad and serious illness. Deny them then what program will you provide to help them get off drugs and support their children? send them through the hell and our tax money of Social services? seems to me we will have another problem to pay for with this plan. . Because he's saving us tax money supposedly, but how many children will be deserted that will end up in the system and us paying for them anyway? JUST MY 2cents

    June 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chrissy

    I think this is another way to waiste money yet again. Every one knows there are ways to pass drug test. Some people on welfare are in rehab and get ssi for there addictions. What will we do with those one's. Yes it seems like a good thing, but yet I havent heard anything on the one's that are trying to get help and are getting welfare. Will you just cutt them off and kick them out. What about the people that have no habits, but lie there way on welfare to get help they dont need. The whole system is mess up. I say fix it right or close it all the way.

    June 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JQAV

    Very simply welfare is there to enable people to find jobs, one of the most critcal parts in getting a new job is a drug test. If you can't pass it to get welfare, do you expect to pass it when you are tested for a job?

    June 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Luxurious Jones

    Way to be a stereotype there.

    June 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • dustin

      Stereotypes. Your prolly one of the people taking advantage of the state... grow up and get a job.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Haha. What you just said was immature. Why don't YOU grow up.

      July 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      So if a stereotype is based on accurate data are you just calling it stereotypical to get it past people by playing on the "non-confrontational politically correct" BS so prevalent today? I do not back down and I am not PC

      July 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Durks

      Amen my good sir. The aclu can stfu on this one. You can rationalize not doing drug testing, in a program that is so ripe with abuse.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Daniel

    This should be applied in all the states! In addition to drug screening, the money (that we all know is serialized) should be prohibited from being spent on things like: Candy, *cigarettes*, alcohol, etc. This way, they don't squander it by force. 🙂

    June 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angelique

      I don't think you can buy cigarettes or alcohol with "Food Stamps" (EBT card). As for candy, you are correct, you should only be able to buy FOOD! And cashiers should check I.D. cards to make sure the person purchasing the food is one and the same.

      June 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
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