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Drug testing state workers soon to become law

by Dara Kam | March 9th, 2012

State workers would have to submit to random drug tests after the Senate signed off on a bill pushed by Gov. Rick Scott, certain to sign it into law once it reaches his desk.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure (HB 1205) by a nonpartisan 26-14 vote, rejecting concerns that suspicionless, random drug testing of government workers is unconstitutional, intrusive and demeaning to the state’s 100,000-plus workforce, most of whom have gone without a pay raise for six years.

“There’s been no predicate laid whatsoever on why we need to have this bill,” said Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican and self-described libertarian, adding that he has been in the legislature for more than a decade.

“I haven’t been running across drug-addled employees who are unable to do their jobs,” he said.

And the measure is overly intrusive, Negron said, because “your urine and your blood are extremely personal body fluids.”

But the bill sponsor Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, argued that public and private sector workers should be subjected to the same requirements and that the screening could help prevent addiction.

And, he said, not requiring the tests could be dangerous.

“What you’re going to create then is a haven for abusers,” Hays said. “Then drug abusers will know they’re safe if they come to work for the state of Florida.”

Scott’s legal team has helped the bill’s House and Senate sponsors persuade lawmakers that the drug screening will be upheld even as they defend the policy in court. The governor is being sued over a drug-testing policy he imposed on state workers last year. After the ACLU and the state workers’ union sued the state, Scott in June quietly reversed his order for all but corrections officers pending the outcome of the case.

Miami U.S. District judge Ursula Ungaro, who heard the case against Scott last week, expressed serious doubts about the governor’s order and “had trouble understanding the circumstances under which the order would be valid.”

The measure would allow Scott’s agency heads to decide whether they want to institute the policy and require that they use money already in their budgets to cover the costs of the tests, which range from $5 to $40.

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28 Responses to “Drug testing state workers soon to become law”

  1. Well Says:

    Haven’t read this anywhere about this bill, but private insurance plan offer a 5% reduction in the group insurance rates, if they participate in the drug free workplace program. That means random drug testing of employees 4 times a year.

    Maybe the state will get a discount on the insurance plan for running this program.

    Curious why it would be unconstitutional to test state workers, but not unconstitutional to test private citizens.

    Maybe because government workers think they are better than the rest of us, and more entitled to everything.

    Get over yourselves and submit to the random testing. If you have nothing to hide then it isn’t a problem.

  2. Justtech3 Says:

    Drug testing non-safety related jobs isn’t the norm in private industry. In fact it is illegal in many places.

    See Department of Labor website:

    It is normal to provide confidential counseling to employees, so that they can get help with a wide range of personal problems. Many of which are much more common and relevant than drug impairment in the workplace.

  3. RealAngst Says:

    Test away, the employees dont really object tot he testing, it is being singled out for testing. I want to see a Bill requiring testing of our Elected Government Officials, starting with the Gov and his staff. Random testing will actually COST the the taxpayers more and whose wife is the owner of one of those companies that will be doing the testing? You betcha! Rick Scott!

    I am sick of this guy finding ways to get money from the Florida Taxpayers into HIS wallet. Well…you can just mail him your check, save time. Now, put that doobie down and get back to work!

  4. CDL Driver Says:

    Actually it is curious that SOME state employees are subject and others werent.

    If you have a CDL license they you have to be in a random screening program. What the rest ar better than that?

  5. Carol Says:

    WELL… on your comment,”…Government workers think they’re better than us?” Seriously? This is a a group of people with the vast majority making just over the Florida poverty line. I’ll gladly provide Scott a sample if he donates all of the money Solantic will definately make towards cost of living increases to Florida employees.

  6. FL_Independent Says:

    Elected officials are paid from the state payroll as well. Yet are exempt…from a law…that they themselves have passed…with no explanation as to why they are exempt.

  7. Jonathan Swift Says:

    Once again, the class-warfare villians of the Florida Legislature have excluded themselves from scrutiny in their attack on public-sector employees. The legislators—who are actually the highest expression of “public employees”—are not, themselves, required to submit to this travesty to The Bill of Rights, i.e., the 4th Amendment. So-they-say, it would be unconstitutional to include themselves. What gall! What temerity! THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES? Only when their privacy and dignity is involved, apparently.

  8. npgator Says:

    The only people who should be protesting this law are the state employed, recreational drug users.

  9. Voter Says:

    Very disappointed that this doesn’t include the Governor and Legislators. A state worker is a state worker.

  10. Chris Mann Says:

    1. Rick Scott will be a one-term governor.

    2. It does seem to be a violation of the constitutions equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to require all government employees to submit to random drug test, then exempt some government employees.

    3. Someone said it best…his policies are doing nothing more than put money in his pockets.

  11. Bye-Bye Scott Says:

    I trully am registered Republican and I voted for Rick Scott. I’ve liked a lot of the things he’s done but this one crossed the line and Scott will pay dearly on Election Day. Let’s get something straight here and cut thru the poo. For every 1 person that admits to smoking weed there are 100 that are closet smokers. That includes all races, the rich, the poor & everyone in between. All this bill will do is creating a larger unemployment pool. I, personally will vote for whoever runs against Scott in the next election.

  12. Bye-Bye Scott Says:

    FYI: I think the war on drugs is a big government money making scam that costs tax payers dearly. It creates criminals out of many outstanding citizens. Alcohol Prohibition didn’t work and Drug Prohibition doesn’t work. If there’s a demand, there will all ways be a supplier….

  13. Tim Says:

    Funny thing about the Republicans, they want to shrink government to a size they can drown in a bucket, unless they want to invade your privacy!

  14. RPOF = RIPOFF Says:

    This should be the MOTHER of all Last Straws.

    The fascists and their ALEC/Koch masters have no business being in our state, much less running it into the ground with overtly racist laws.

    The right wing lunatics have FAILED.

    They have FAILED for the LAST TIME.

    Every Floridian should vote in November, straight ticket for a whole batch of NEW DEMOCRATS.

  15. ditto FL_Independent Says:

    The way it stands now they are drug tested if they are hurt or make a mistake that costs more than $500. There is no security in being a state employee who uses illegal drugs.

    Elected officials are paid from the state payroll as well. Yet are exempt…from a law…that they themselves have passed…with no explanation as to why they are exempt.

  16. yo-nick Says:

    STOP eating poppy seeds now, they come up positive for oppiates, as I was tested positive- for a BAGEL w Poppy seeds from Publix.(100%true!) NJ Trooper went through hell w/ these tests.(same deal-Poppy seeds) False positives and humans not behaving well at labs, switching clean urines is a lucrative, and verry illegal task~Another un-needed government in your personal life, Slick Scott move. Its not acceptable!Save the State money-Legalize Cannabis, tax and produce it, before your playing catch up FL!

  17. FedUp Says:

    I am willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of state employees do NOT use illegal drugs, and I’m sure that the Governor is well aware of the existing statistics that support my claim. I am a state employee who does not do illegal drugs and I never have – but I will resign without hesitation if they try to demand my body fluids. It is outrageous.

  18. ELC Says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous and unless
    someone is suspect for taking illegal drugs that noone should have to donate either their blood or urine to prove this. Scott as usual is going overboard but then again he is an idiot.

  19. I see through you Says:

    A 1.6 Million dollar boondoggle for companies owned by the likes of Rick Scott. I thought Republicans were for less government. There is already a law which allows State employers to subject suspicious employees to drug-testing. This was not needed. Florida State employees are the lowest paid in the nation with no pay raises or cost of living increases in 6 years. Florida also employees the lowest number of State employees in the nation. If there is indeed a budget crisis, then where are the funds for this? I don’t see the need or the benefit to taxpayers. It is hypocritical of lawmakers to exempt themselves and insulting when they receive subsidized health care and raises while State employees suffer increases in Health Care Premiums and a cut in wages.

  20. Ruby Says:

    What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. Roll up your sleeves Ricky boy and give us a pint of your precious blood. While your at it give us another donation-go pee in a cup. Lets see if you are a clean servant of the people.

  21. RPOF = RIPOFF Says:

    People upset about this need to get ACTIVATED to eject these Republicans from office.

    Get involved at the local level.

    We WILL defeat this disgusting fascist trend from the GOP.

  22. jeff Says:

    Hope this includes Public School Teachers, Principals and Assistant Principles?

    Also, School Board and County Commissioners…

    Else it’s a Farce!!!

  23. Downtown Danny Says:

    They Republicans in the House & Senate refused to vote to have themselves tested but think its ok for all the other state employees.

  24. Uncle Tom Says:

    All those lazy, livin off social security and abusing Medicare benefits, retirees need to be tested too.

  25. Ms Vicky Says:

    I sincerely believe that Rick Scott needs to be randomly drug tested for his entire tenure as governor, which will fortunately end after his first term. We need to know for certain if this man is capable of running the state of Florida in a responsible manner. Our governor has been accused of lying, cheating and stealing in a Court of Law and has taken to pleading the 5th more than 50 times. He reminds me of the unstable Captain Phillip Queeg, in The Caine Mutiny; and he seems bent on self destruction. Perhaps it is his own sense of guilt and shame that he projects onto others.In any case, there’s no reason why Floridians should be punished for his character flaws. He needs to be drug-tested for his own good, the sooner, the better!

  26. lawguy999 Says:

    Why stop at random drug testing? There are a lot of problems that could be solved with a few simple random checks.
    I think the police should start making unannounced inspections of houses and apartments to look for signs of domestic violence and child abuse because those kinds of crimes usually occur right at home. They could also check your gun cabinet to make sure you don’t have any illegal weapons and look through your bookcase to to see if you’ve been reading any subversive literature. If you don’t have anything to hide, it shouldn’t be problem, right?

  27. Common Man Says:

    Dear “Dictator” scott

    It is my understanding that the State of Florida employees have not had a raise in 6 years, and that on average they make less than average pay compared to the private sector, and do not receive cost of living increases

    Now you force mandatory drug tests on them, yet you and all the good ole boys on your staff are exempt.

    that tells me that you have no respect or regard for any of the citizens of Florida, and not for your employees

    Show some guts and amend you bill to include anyone who derives a salary from the state of Florida

    Or maybe you are afraid to pee in the cup, because the people of Florida may find out what drives your over inflated ego.

    Bye the way where are the jobs you promised.

  28. Jim Says:

    Where is the TEA party now? do they support ransom drug testing? Where are their voices defending freedom and liberty. What a sad joke the Tea Party has become. If they ever had any creditability, Dick Armey and Freedom works has destroyed it. So much for fighting tirelessly for lower taxes, less government, and more freedom.

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