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. Pix

    @Ruffie:
    Not if the test were administered correctly, and the are other drugs out there besides pot, you know. 🙂

    June 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      that's what the whizzinater is for.. or you just get a fake id and have someone else take the test for you..

      June 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzz

    When I can't sleep,I count half black jungle bunnies....1,2,3...

    June 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pix

    Not applicable when someone is in the room with you, as is happening more and more....
    They check for things like that.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pix

    Just hope they're not pee-shy!

    June 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzz

    946 half black jungle bunnies, 947, 948,949...

    June 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Taking the welfare money away from an addict is probably the best thing one could do for him.
    Faced with getting straight or starving, he would have a fair chance of surviving.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      they'll just start commiting crimes or turning tricks..

      June 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    RUFFNUTT:
    How naif I am. That's not what I'd do, so it didn't occur to me.
    Well, "trick" crimes don't have victims. If the addicts steal to support their habits, fry 'em.
    I'm not operating in a forgiving mode today: too busy Working for my money.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    This is one of the best things the government can do to cut costs and to hold people accountable. It's about time someone thought of it. I also think welfare recipients should have to do some small amount of community service each month to remain eligible, with exceptions for people with disabilities.

    June 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I like the idea of community service, it's the best thing I've heard so far but what the government is doing is clearly wrong. it's social demographic war and vice by the govenor to futher enrich himself and people like him. a test! are you kidding me? just cuz a parent smoke, let's say marijuana, it shouldnt have nothing to do with his or welfare. then how these parents are supposed to take care of their children. soon or later, they will start stealing and robbing homes. it's chaos. that's what all this will lead to, Jail and more prison to be built.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    To all who don't know me: the above post are NOT me but a very EVIL person pls disregard them.

    June 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    How about we get the government out of welfare completely? There are countless charities already for this function. And if welfare was shut down, yet more non-profits would pop up to fill the void – using or even started by workers let go by the government.

    There are people willing to give alot to help the downtrodden. Why should taxpayers barely scraping by have to do it?

    June 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy

    Would JIF really misspell "naive"?

    June 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mary

    The article fails to tell you that the govenor had owned the drug testing facilities he wants the reciepents to get tested at!!! Prior to this law he signed them over to his wife! TheY will just pocket the dollars that pay for the tests that you and I will pay for! So he is NOT doing it for a real good reason!! Another politician just getting wealthy with lies! And to Jazzzzz; I would love to see you try to talk your racial crap in front of the people you so boldly WRITE about. I'm sure you don't have the nuts to do so! MARY~~

    June 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim in California

      Who cares? The principal is a solid one. If I have to take a drug test to get a job, they can take one to suck the money out of me that I earned from that job.

      June 7, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      I agree Mary... it is social and demographic warfare most of on black people follow by the poor and the lower calss. this GREEDY politician never get their money right it's always on the back of poor people and blacks. I know where that road lead to....prison.

      July 3, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    @jazzz: trolls are best ignored. Someone else will feed them and draw their attention soon enough. It also helps if you don't care what people think about you 😉

    June 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      THanks Lee , but sometimes it really hurts and I strike out in anger, so I guess i'm human and do care at times.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @jazzz: are you saying i'm not human? I'm 543 years old.. But that hurts

      June 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cosmotologist to the Stars

    I think we should take a chainsaw and cut off the head of everyone on welfare and everyone applying for it. That way we could check and see what is inside them. If they pass the test we sew their heads back on and give them welfare as long as they are still alive.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @cosmotologist: we could also count the rings and see how old they *really* are..

      June 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pix

    @mary:
    Thanks. I didn't know that.
    Puts another spin on it all, doesn't it? Although I am for drug-testing new applicants, it should not be done to further line the Gov's pockets!
    Same as it ever was, I guess!

    And that's Troll Jazzzzz. Real Jazzzz is not, and never has been, a racist, I assure you.

    It's just a matter of time before the troll gets everyone. It happens to everyone.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      All drug testing does is line people's pockets. Oh, and keep people who took a hit at a party 20 days ago from getting a job.. It doesn't show if they're high at work or anything.

      At first, as a libertarian, i was torn. But with no govt welfare, there'd be no govt intrusion. Private companies, non-profs included, are free to do what they want.

      Privatize welfare and let em test to their heart's content.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
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