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. Devin adkins

    I would like say that what is so wrong with taking a drug test to recieve state benefits. Not all, but alot of people abuse these benefits. I recieve food stamps, and do not at all feel like this is saying im on drugs. I encourage Gov. Scott and its about time someone does this

    June 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. S. Numley

    Who else does this law apply to?

    Why is the testing set up for labs
    Owned by the Govenor? Seems
    Unethical to me .

    Thank you

    S. Nunley

    June 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny

      I had to pay over $300 to get a jod in Nevada $65 for the alcohol awarenes car $125 for the gaming card, and $50 for the health card and i didn't get reimburst for any of that. so yeah make these people pay for a drug test out of pocket to get free money. if they aren't doing drugs themn they will get the money back. oh and about the "kids" if the parents cared about their kids before they did drugs then we wouldn't need to worry about them. they should have never had children in the first place.

      July 13, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Doug Y

    If I have to take a drug test to work my job and get a pay check to pay taxes,why shouldnt people have to take a drug test to get my money

    June 28, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      Do you have to pay for that test out of your own pocket, NO, your employer does. I would agree with Random drug test, sure. Seems like this is a little excessive.

      June 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • TG

      I had to pass a drug test for my job and I didn't complain-the solution here is to NOT DO DRUGS. Don't like it? Then don't be on welfare.... 🙂

      July 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • TG

      These people have to pay for the initial test–however, when they pass–they are reimbursed the fee....seems reasonable to me. It is all about accountability.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marianne

      I agree! But also, why do taxpayer monies go to benefits for illegal aliens? In California alone, $21.5 BILLION per year! That's roughly $2,500 per taxpayer!!! Whaaat??!

      July 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • G.G.

      I am in agreement with Rick Scott. The budgets are completely out of control. We as a society have to get the economy back on track. Companies only want competent individuals to work and therefore, do drug testing. As a country isn't it sensible to have competent individuals in our society. The welfare system is devised to help an individual in times of need not to provide a crutch. There are individuals which utilize the system which are drug users and also those that are not. However, the government is providing a check, foodstamps or medical at the expense of the taxpayers of the United States. Just as in any other situation, one individual can ruin a good thing for everyone else. Those against the drug testing who do not abuse or take drugs should think about the benefits of having those abusing the welfare benefits out of the system: faster processing, possibly better benefits and knowing they are not grouped with those who abuse the system. Just perhaps in the end tough love will pay off and some individuals will become productive members of society.

      July 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Your money? I worked and paid taxes for 31 years before being permanently disabled in an auto collision. I worked for 14 years straight at my last job, then when I lost the job due to inability to perform my duties, I applied for unemployment. They said I was not eligible because I was unable to work. I then applied for disability, but was turned down because they said I was able to work! (If you can pick up a coin, then you can obviously work eight hours a day as a convenience store clerk, right?) After two years, several hearings, and tens of thousands in debt for medication, doctor fees, etc. and even sleeping in my car, I finally went on SSD, which barely covers my survival. I do not enjoy exorbitant luxuries such as TV, air conditioning, or meat more than once or twice a week, I pay almost 20% of my meager income for ongoing medical expenses.

      I apologize for not having died before now so as to avoid spending YOUR MONEY....

      July 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rebel Minx

    if the Mr. Scott wants to drug test those that receive welfare I suggest that we the residence of Florida drug test those that are in our state government. They are state employees and they are paid for by the Tax Payers of Florida. I hope that the ACLU and all those groups decide to drug test the government instead of sueing the state. We the Taxpayers can't afford a lawsuit. Instead I suggest that we the taxpayers of Florida demand that our state government including Mr. Scott be subjected to the same drug testing that the government of Florida is demanding of those that are receiving welfare of any kind!!!

    June 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sdexnorva

      'Excellent idea. If welfare recipients take drug tests so should members of the legislature and even the governor's office. After all, "We don't want to subsidize drug use."

      July 4, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • johnny

      i agree we should drug test those in office. their the ones making and passing laws, they should have a clear head on their shoulders...

      July 13, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amber

      I believe the governor tried to pass that. I read it somewhere, can't remember where. Anyway the uproar it caused with the politicians was too much I guess. He had to get that vote to pass through the state legislature and it didn't.

      July 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. concerned

    Let's break this down. I give you $50. I pass & you give me back $50. But the lab still needs to be paid for testing. Who's paying for that? TAXPAYERS. So now it's costing 2x as much. Plus, if these are labs owned by Gov. Scott, you're paying him. Unethical!!! How did someone who is state get so much power OVER the government? I think Gov. Scott is shady & everyone needs to look at the big pic. He's doing this for his own profit.

    June 29, 2011 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
    • TG

      A ton of people are going to fail though-and not get their money back. It will be fine.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      I'm asuming if you're paying for the drug test you would pay the clinic doing the testing, and then get a credit back if you pass. So if you're someone who doesn't do drugs you're still getting the same amount of benefits, but for those that fail the test will be helping to fund the system.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David

    Do you know how many job drug tests I've had to get clean urine from someone else or just spend 50$ to buy fake urine – I smoke marijuana on a daily basis – I'm not a member of this "temporary assistance for needy families" program nor do I qualify , but the drug abusers will just use clean or fake urine just like I'm forced to – to have a job. All gov rick scott is doing is making money and making it only a slightly more painful process to get this assistance.

    June 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      Nobody forces you to smoke weed... Save your health and $50 bucks on the testing, and save money and trouble by not buying it in the first place!

      July 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tired of Paying for Lazy People

    This it stupid

    June 30, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tired of Paying for Lazy People

    So sick of people working the system. Pop out another kid?? No problem, here's more money....what a joke. State employess SHOULD get tested, as should people receiving state funding. It's greed and laziness that is killing this world!! I pay into welfare and social security and will probably NEVER see a penny from either one. Why? Because I am a driven person, responsible, and can take care of myself and my family. Illegal?? Sure come on in and get some money and health insurance and whatever else you want. I haven't had health insurance for years because I can't afford it and yet it is given away for free to people that don't belong here. In my eyes that is STEALING from hard working American people.

    June 30, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
    • TG

      so true. America should reward the hard-working and tax paying people....but no-Obama likes to give everything to ILLEGALS.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired Too

      So true! Glad to see I am not alone. I too have worked all my life, raised 3 kids on my income alone. I cannot even count how many women I have run across who just keep popping out kids, they brag about their 6 "baby daddy's" – who all give them money and then she is on housing paying $25 a month rent and collecting a welfare check, food stamps and medical for all, while drug dealing "baby daddy" number 6 is living in the house and funding her new big screen plasma, her kids iphones and computers and her Lexus that she tools around in as she and her 6 kids go to their doctors appointments, which we all pay for! And the illegal aliens get even more! How about business loans with a deferred payback clause so they can get the "American Dream" and help buying a home......what about the Americans "American Dream"? It just makes me ill to think about all the benefits we just throw at these foreigners, If the USA locked down our borders a long time ago, we would not be in the massive debt that the country is breaking under right now. When is the government going to get it? What other countries go broke taking care of people from other countries? None.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    I agree with most of you here. this is greed and vice by the REPUBLICAN GOVENOR. I will take it further, it's WAR on BLACK PEOPLE, the poor, the needy, and the unpriviledge. I know families who will not have that 50 dollard to take that test. Imagine what they would do if they cannot receive any help because of that test. they (republican) WILL HAVE TO BUILD MORE PRISON CUZ IT GONNA BE CHAOS and in turn they (he) will make more money. I wouldnt doubt if he owns or somewhat connected with the LABs administering the test. what more should we have expected from him. f'king republican.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Your and idiot

      July 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jscrillx

      hmmmm sounds like someone doesn't want to give up the dope......

      July 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TheMidnightReview

    Statistics show that a small percentage of welfare recipients use drugs. A SMALL PERCENTAGE! Enforcing this stupid legislation will cost the state more money then before...

    July 3, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tired Too

    Hooray! Gov Scott! Glad I voted for you, you are on the right track! Now maybe lock down entrance into Florida from all the illegal aliens. I am getting sick and tired of ENGLISH

    July 11, 2011 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sherlock Steve

    Finally...Sick of people with their hand out asking the government to support them while hard working americans support their drug habbits.

    July 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sarah

    It's about time! If hardworking citizens have to take a drug test to be able to WORK for the money that they EARN, so should those who DONT work for the money that they are GIVEN! The underprivedged, poor, needy, etc all want equal rights... until now. Sorry, you cant have it both ways!

    July 14, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. annette

    its about damn time

    July 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mika

    I think that this is something that should be a necessity, if you have to do drug testing for jobs this should be apart of this too.

    July 18, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
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