Across Florida
What's happening on other political blogs?

ACLU sues Scott to overturn drug-testing of welfare recipients

by John Kennedy | September 7th, 2011

The ACLU of Florida said Wednesday it has sued the Gov. Rick Scott administration in federal court to overturn the state’s new law requiring mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients.

The lawsuit was filed in Orlando on behalf of Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old Orlando man, Navy veteran and University of Central Florida student. Lebron and his four-year-old son were declared eligible for benefits through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, but Lebron refused to take the required drug test and has not received aid.

“It is a public policy that really rests on ugly stereotypes,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida ACLU.

Florida’s new law took effect July 1. Since then, the state’s Department of Children & Families reports that about 2.5 percent of applicants have tested positive for drugs and were denied personal benefits, although their family members still qualify.

But in its lawsuit, the ACLU maintains the requirement violates constitutional safeguards against unreasonable search and seizure by the government. The only other state to implement a similar policy, Michigan, had its drug-testing law overturned a decade ago, according to ACLU attorneys.

DCF Secretary David Wilkins, a Scott appointee, is named as defendant in the lawsuit.

The ACLU earlier sued Scott over his executive order requiring drug-testing of all new state hires and random screening of current state employees. Scott suspended the order in May for agencies other than the Department of Corrections, although he insisted the freeze would only be in place until the lawsuit was decided.

Tags: , , ,

35 Responses to “ACLU sues Scott to overturn drug-testing of welfare recipients”

  1. Tea Baggery Says:

    Not only is this plan a waste of taxpayer money due to the low positive numbers, as Frank Cerabino pointed out “The pool of money used to reimburse drug-free applicants comes from that block of federal money that was meant to provide them assistance.”
    This is the most unconscionable attack on the poor I have ever witnessed.
    The Tea Party and Republicans need to stop blaming the lower socio-economic classes for the unhealthy economy and ask any economist why we are in this mess.

  2. Tea Lady Says:

    Why, I don’t see what’s wrong with drug-testing people who receive tax payer money.

    No one is forced to accept welfare payments. The beneficiary applies for them. And the drug test is a condition for receiving them. How is this an invasion of privacy? If you don’t want to take the drug test, you do not have to .. nor accept the payments.

    Indeed, why should anyone receive taxpayer money with no strings attached?

  3. The Truth Says:

    I don’t want my hard earned tax dollars used to feed the habit of some loser crackhead. I completely agree with comment #2. No test – no problem – no handout.

  4. GG Says:

    People are drug tested to receive a job but they don’t have to be drug tested to receive free money!

  5. rdc Says:

    I’m against it. I don’t want my tax dollars wasted on more inefficient bureaucracy than we already have. It’s just another excuse to expand the reach of the government into private lives and put more people on the state payroll. This program will never be financially solvent and it’s been proven time and time again. It’s time to stop wasting money on needless regulation.

  6. Really!!!! Says:

    I agree with #2 and #3. You should have no problems if you are not doing drugs. get over yourselves. This is why our country is in the shape it is in.

  7. rdc Says:

    by the way, you can do all of the LSD, methamphetimine, and cocaine you want…just don’t smoke pot. The first three are pretty hard to catch on a drug test unless it’s a high dollar spinal tap.

  8. Eric Says:

    This is a no brainer. Most of us have to agree to drug testing as a condition of employment. It’s no big deal, The same testing should absolutely apply to those who want to receive tax money. Anyone who doesn’t want to participate can simply opt out of the testing and not take the money.

  9. Stop giving illegal aliens benefits Says:

    The drug testing is only for Scott to make himself money through HIS company(ies).

    How about simply not providing benefits for people who are NOT LEGAL US CITIZENS. This will help allieviate some of our economic, as well as illegal alien problems. If the illegal aliens can’t get food stamps, medical, housing, cash, SSI, etc. then they’ll stop coming here to leach off of the American system. Wouldn’t that save the US millions if not billions of dollars?

    Also, the illegal aliens wouldn’t be taking OUR American jobs, and/or wouldn’t be here selling drugs (while receiving government benefits), all the while sending US money to their native country. Wouldn’t that save the US millions if not billions of dollars (including arrests, jails, prosecution)?

    To those who wish to come to America legally and be functioning productive members of society, as did many of our ancestors, I say welcome.

  10. Johnny Rebel Says:

    the only real fear i see is not being able to pass a drug test. if your not on drugs, it shouldn’t be a problem. only people on drugs complain about drug tests, simple as that. oh, how i wish the south woulda won!

  11. unbelievable Says:

    hey tea lady.. if 2.5% of applicants failed the test, that means that we have to reimburse 97.5%. That seems like a waste of money to me, but then, I don’t blindly follow those who are using you for their own ends.
    By the way, don’t use the public schools or call the police or fire department because they are paid for with taxpayer money with no strings attached.

  12. Johnny Rebel Says:

    i love how the lib’s blame everybody else. in case u hadn’t noticed, hussein obama has been in office for nearly four years and were in worse shape now, than on his first day in office. hollywood set you up, mr/mrs unbelievable, to think hussein obama would be great prez. if we all had your good sense we’d be speaking muslim right now.

  13. Yaya Says:

    We drug test bus commercial drivers, we stand naked during airline security checks and patdowns, and the ACLU is protesting this drug testing? If you take money from the federal government, you should be subject to random testing.

    Those who receive housing vouchers have to live with restrictions that no drug activity or illegal activity takes place in their abode. If so, you’re OUT.

    The ACLU is a detriment to American Society. It’s focus is sexual freedom no matter what.

    It seeks to end the Lifetime Registry of Sex Offenders and where they should live.

    The ACLU is no friend to American society. Who funds the $14,000,000 in salary for the ACLU?

    these lawyers don’t work for free, they get paid.

  14. BCS Says:

    Are you kidding me? So we take $40,000 $50,000 PER MONTH and hand it to drug testing joints in order to “catch” the maybe 2.5% of people who might do doing drugs? So no food for you if you’ve smoked a joint this month? And we save like, $60 a month for everyone that gets caught?

    Because yeah, poor people are really getting over here, what with their $180 a month benefits that last 4 years.

    And ALL of it is Fed money, so it’s a very slick way to put a half million bucks of money earmarked for assistance to the poor in the pockets of drug-testing companies.

    And oh, here’s a question – does Solantic do any of the testing? You know, the clinic that Scott co-founded and that specializes in drug testing? Oh yeah, he doesn’t have stock in it any more – he transferred all $62 million worth… TO HIS WIFE.

    It kills me to see the people that in the end are going to be most abused by this criminal in the State house doing the most fervent defending.

  15. Jim Says:

    Here is a hypothetical question for all of you. What if the good gubna decided we all must take drug tests quarterly to keep your drivers license. I could make the argument that this is a great idea because don’t want people doing drugs and driving. It’s a privelege, not a right to drive. Would tea partiers be just as happy with that or just policies that don’t affect them?

  16. Seriously Folks... Says:

    Would you Dems, Libs and others be talking out of your asses, if it was Jeb or Charlie that instituted this??? Seriously, take the drug test and shut up!

  17. Jim Says:

    Oh, and pretty soon the 2.5% will figure out how to beat the test, so it will just be more bad money out. We are just kidding ourselves into thinking we are rooting out abusers.

  18. Sherri Says:

    They are not testing for the Food Stamps only cash assistance. I think if you receive assistance of any kind you should be tested. I live in an area with a large amount of indegent people. I’m asked all the time if I want to buy their food stamp card for 50 cents on the dollar and I refuse because it’s to feed their family not supply their habit. Also something needs to be done to the stores that with sell beer and cigs for the food stamps. And #9 stopping the illegals from receiving anything does need to happen but it also needs to include any children that they have given birth to here in the USA. From WIC to free school lunch! Also including healthy kids insurance.

  19. lucas Says:

    i agree with # 9 100% we need to stop giving support to non us americans. then they can stop crossing over expecting the good life free hand outs by the goverment(TAX PAYERS HARD EARNED MONEY).

  20. Kevin Says:

    I don’t know why I am always so amazed when I witness the depth of ignorance displayed by our local populace but you people never seem to disappoint. And to Johnny Rebel, when did Muslim become a language you moron. The funny thing about that document you so called conservatives are so reverent about is that it’s not a pick and choose what you like and screw the rest document as most of you seem to think. The ACLU fights to uphold everyone’s constitutional rights regardless of your political persuasion. Just as I find your right to own a rocket launcher just as abhorrent as you find a drug users right to privacy regardless of their need for food assistance, it is their right under the constitution no to have to submit to unreasonable search and seizure just because their poor and need help. A 2.5% positive test result rate really just means that the Governors suspicions regarding poor people and drug use is flat out wrong. If our esteemed Gov really wanted to do something positive he would drop the drug testing scheme originally designed to make millions for his personally owned “doc in a box” company. He could audit those individuals receiving benefits look beyond the information submitted on the forms and review their eligibility for assistance. Fraud at this level is very high and would result in real savings as well as put some people behind bars for defrauding the tax payers

  21. BCS Says:

    #20 – It’s pointless. I’ve had these debates before; can’t argue someone that can’t see past a Glen Beck talking point. Really they’re all idiots.

    And BTW, you people don’t know crap about my politics, so stop making stupid assumptions. Oh wait – not possible. Never mind.

  22. Stop giving illegal aliens benefits Says:

    #18 – I, #9 concur. Also need to include any children that the illegal aliens have given birth to here in the USA. That is, also stop giving the illegal aliens benefits from WIC, free school lunch, healthy kids insurance.

    #19 – Thanks for making the point that benefits the illegal aliens have been and are leaching are our US TAXPAYERS’ HARD EARNED MONEY. This needs to cease and desist immediately!

    It’s a shame the POLITICIANS don’t listen to those who elect them–the US CITIZENS, they only gripe about whatever political party they don’t belong to (e.g., Dem or Repub). I’m sick and tired of hearing their toddler like whining and griping. I want to hear about see the ACTION THEY ARE TAKING AND HAVE TAKEN, not the whining about what the other party has or hasn’t done (mostly lies anyway).

    I think it’s time for a constitutional ballot amendment to remove/repeal political parties so that we would then be voting for only for people and their issues.

    I also think it’s time for a constitutional ballot amendment to remove/repeal all immunities–sovereign, qualified and absolute–so that all must be accountable for their actions. NO MORE HIDING BEHIND THE IMMUNITY SHIELD AND STABBING WITH THE IMMUNITY SWORD.

  23. Test Everybody Says:

    Would testing ‘everybody’ make it fair? Let’s hear from everybody that in anyway benefit from public monies which is pretty much everybody.

  24. Drug Test State Employees Says:

    Existing and New Hire State Employees also need to be drug tested and have background checks performed. They currently are not tested. This is absurd. Almost every reputable company performs drug test and conducts background checks. There is no excuse for the State of Florida not to be doing this. People can argue about cost all they want but the intangible and sometimes tangible return is worth every penny in my opinion. Like it or not drug testing is part of fighting the drug problem in our society.

  25. BCS Says:

    Do the math, you silly geese:

    2000 tests a month @ avg. of $30 = $60,000
    2.5% of people (50) “caught” pay their own way, so actual cost (taken from FED dollars) is $58,500 PER MONTH.
    Savings from not giving the $60 to those caught: $3,000.
    Savings over the year of them being banned: $36,000.

    So what have we learned? That Scott will direct $58,500 of federal money into the pockets of private businesses in order to “save” $36,000 in benefits. A net loss of $22,500 over leaving things status quo.

    Golly that’s smart economics (and I’ve left off the additional costs of administering the new rules and regulations, not to mention time and money spent to write, enact, and now defend them in court).

    But it’s ok, because 50 people a month get busted for smoking a joint and lose their lousy $60 per month in assistance.

    If you people can’t see how you’re being manipulated to blame people for one thing while you take it from behind from the criminals running things, you deserve Scott for a gov.

  26. Worth every penny! Says:

    $22,500 and your complaining? $60k big deal….Please tell me you have a better argument than that! This is chump change in the grand scheme of things.

  27. John B Says:

    This issue is a red herring initiated by a corrupt, selfish, and criminal governor. Scott is the worst gov we have had since reconstruction. He brings this up to try and drum up some support from people outside of his extreme right wing tea bag circle.

    p.s. Hey Johnny Rebel. A “red herring” is a distraction. Watch something besides Glenn Beck you tard.

  28. BCS Says:

    26 – What the hell is your point? I thought Scott claimed that this was a money saving thing. And everyone on this comment list has been bitching that people that do drugs shouldn’t get “free money.”

    So I pointed out that the plan actually COSTS money. Is it your position that as long as someone who takes drugs doesn’t get your tax money, it’s worth throwing away another 22 grand a month? Or is it just that you’re ok with wasting money as long as it goes to private clinics?

    And yeah, it’s chump change – the entire program is only $210 million – Iraq was costing $9 billion a month. It’s a damn red herring, which was my larger point, and which you obviously can’t grasp.

    The whole thing is just another ploy to trick morons into focusing on easy “blame that guy” issues rather than relevant stuff.

    Ah, forget it.

  29. BCS Says:

    Ha – Looks like John B and I were writing at the same time… funny we both used a term more than a few people here probably won’t understand.

  30. jose Says:

    whoever won, I hope there is a new breakthrough that could improve the work system,

  31. Keep Testing Says:

    At #28, yes its worth it. I don’t give a darn if the program costs money, because If I got caught doing drugs, I would be fired! And, you can bet I wouldn’t get a good recommendation for any future job! My livelihood would be ruined. People receiving our tax dollars should be held just as accountable as those of us who are earning them. And they should face the same consequences…NO MORE MONEY.

    And, just think of the jobs created by employing workers to administer these tests….

  32. Worth every penny! Says:

    @Keep Testing, Exactly!

  33. Doh Says:

    31 and 32 – I’d rebut you, but frankly you’re obviously too frigging stupid to talk to. I’m surprised you can read.

  34. Worth every penny! Says:

    yeah we are all stupid…and you are the enlightene one.

  35. steve Says:

    I have mixed emotions about this policy. Much more effective would be a policy of voluntary sterilization for anyone who applies for Welfare, Section 8, or Food Stamps. There is no reason at all that the taxpayers should subsidize people reproducing more children on the taxpayers’ funds. If we generously are paying for you to have a place to live, food to eat, and a check then that doesn’t mean you have cart blanche to go out and spit out a dozen more welfare tickets. If this policy had been implemented decades ago, we’d be living in a better world today with less violent crime, less child abuse, and lower numbers on the welfare rolls.

Florida political tweeters
Video: Politics stories