Florida to Drug Test Welfare Recipients

ACLU files lawsuit saying law is unconstitutional

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 1, 2011 6:20 PM CDT | Updated Jun 4, 2011 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Governor Rick Scott signed a law this week requiring Floridians to submit urine, blood, or hair samples for drug testing before they could receive any cash aid from the state. Those testing positive will be banned from receiving aid for six months, though they can secure assistance for their children by designating someone else—who must also pass a drug test—to collect the money, the Miami Herald reports.

“The goal of this is to make sure we don’t waste taxpayers money,” Scott says. “Hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs.” But the Florida ACLU has already filed a lawsuit claiming the law violates welfare recipients' fourth amendment rights. “It’s not even random drug testing,” one official tells WJHG. “It's drug testing of all people who apply for public assistance and you can't do that without suspicion of something.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a news conference in Tallahassee, Fla in this March 28, 2011 file photo.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a news conference in Tallahassee, Fla in this March 28, 2011 file photo.   (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)
Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during the Governor's Hurricane Conference in this file photo.
Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks during the Governor's Hurricane Conference in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
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Rick Scott talks to CNN about the controversial new law.   (CNN)

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