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. john

    GO SCOTT !!!!! it is about time someone has the balls to do this. I am tired of supporting drug habits !! and for you ACLU go **** yourself...my tax dollars...my decision!

    June 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    If those people who do not take drugs are so angry about being stereotyped, why don't they prove the government wrong and show that they are not taking drugs? common sense its not hard to pee in a cup and show that there are some who don't use drugs.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • blah blah

      no irony in having to pay $50 to sign up for financial assistance eh?
      I guess if you don't have the money to test who cares right

      June 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The Wraith

    The pragmatist in me is wondering a few things. So, if they fail the drug test, no welfare? So they starve to death because they have an addiction? Wouldn't a better option be, if they fail, offer treatment? If nothing else, I would imagine the drug habit is part of the reason they applying for welfare.

    Don't get me wrong, I have no love for drug addicts, I just think its time we start giving real solutions to issues like this instead of simple grand-standing and nice slogans. Simply shutting them off from all assistance is not a solution, it's just kicking the can down the road for bigger problems later.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelli

      Who's to say that if someone taking drugs now knows that they'll be drug tested before getting welfare assistance they just might opt to quit drugs. Why assume that they'll starve to death.

      June 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sheila Bliesath

    LOL why would anyone complain about this one unless they are taking drugs! Tell the ACLU shove off and defend the people who need defending for legitimate reasons. Also, color for sure does not matter. Yellow, White, Black, Brown or Green . . . taking drugs no check. And if you have kids know that someone else will be taking care of them for you.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angel

      ACLU are upset BEACUSE they want STATE WORKERS to take the random drug test, plus the other stuff.

      June 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jess

    Do you know how many people use this money for drugs? More than accounted for. All states should require this. There are many people who are being denied help who truly need it. Living in the NY, NJ, CT tri state area, I have witnessed so many people splurge money on their drug addictions while living under every government financial assistance available.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lenna

    why stop at people on welfare? If working people have to take a drug test to keep their job so should all of our senators and reps.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ryan

    His wife owns the company dong the drug testing! He is going to make 70 million in profit from the tax payers. Good job Governor! Way to stick it to the little guy! It's about time we start making the children suffer for the parnets mistakes! and if you dont get elected again who cares you made you money. Sounds like the tax payers are subsidizing your retirement!

    June 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Oh, she owns the company dong, alright!

      July 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. josman27510

    This is exactly what all states need! I'm tired of working to pay taxes for people who sit at home selling/and smoking drugs, driving nicer cars than I do, wearing name brand clothes, etc! And I don't believe that marijuana is addicting, I think people just enjoy it.....but they still spend taxpayer money on it! It needs to stop!

    June 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CodpieceWatch

    Fine, but then they'd better test millionaires who are receiving huge tax breaks, employees of any company receiving a penny of taxpayer subsidies, farmers receiving subsidies, every church that has tax-exempt status, every soldier, every government employee (including governors), police officer, bailed out bankers, etc.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Hey there brain all military have been drug tested since the 80's. As is the case with some of the other jobs you listed also. And I do see a problem with charging them for the test but if they pass they do get the money back.

      June 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rayne Gonzalez

    Howard Simon, you're an idiot. He's not making an assumption at all . If people using Welfare are NOT on drugs then you have nothing to fricking worry about. Calm your ass down and listen to the American Citizens and PAY TAXES. WE DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR ADDICTS TO SIT AROUND ALL DAY AND TAKE THE MONEY THAT WE WORK HARD FOR!

    June 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Florida Resident

    No, not all welfare recipients are addicted to drugs and it has nothing to do with whether you are black, white, or polka dot. If the people in this country have to be drug tested to go to work and collect their paycheck, then the people who are on welfare should be drug tested to collect our tax dollars. Plain and simple. They should be treated like everyone else. Welfare is a great thing for those who need it, but somehow in the past years people have learned to screw the system and make a living of this. All that does is take away from those who need it most. What about the single mother or father who has the spouse die over an illness or accident that works and works and works and can't get a little help to feed their children because "they make too much" by working all over time just to pay bills? I have seen this happen. Thats because people are screwing the system.......... if you are on welfare and pop out another child with in a certain time period, you automatically get more money? I have seen this too. It's about time someone did this. And as for a law suit over this??? Thats just plain stupid.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Littlemamma

    Good for Governor Scott! Many people are required to give a pee sample for employment. Our military fighting two wars are required to give pee samples. So, doesn't it make sense finally to require welfare recipients to adhere to the same requirements. We hear daily news about balancing the federal/state budgets. This could potentially save billions. However, the children of these families should still be able to receive benefits, just not the parents.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Natalie Kerr-Collard

    THANK YOU SCOTT!!!! An "unfortunate stereotype?" I'm sorry but I live all the way up in MA, and it's all I ever SEE! Please save the $$ for the disabled and the single mothers who NEED it! Not to the drug addicts who crank out babies to qualify for more smack money from the government! Hell, I'm a LIBRAL and I agree with Scott on this issue. We all LOVE to talk about "personal accountability" but God forbid, we try to employ it!

    June 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. california resident

    I wish this was happening in california :/

    June 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dianna berge


    June 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
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