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Gov. Scott quietly signs state worker drug testing into law

by Dara Kam | March 19th, 2012

In less than three months, the state’s 100,000-plus workforce will be subject to random, suspicionless drug testing making Florida the first in the nation to impose the policy.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the state worker drug-testing measure (HB 1205) into law today without fanfare or comment.

The new law, a priority of Scott’s which goes into effect on July 1, allows Scott’s agency heads to order the drug tests for up to 10 percent of their workers four times a year. Lawmakers did not include any additional funding for the urine tests, which run from $5 to $40, in the measure (HB 1205) in the state’s $70 billion budget, prompting some critics to question which services agencies will cut to absorb the costs. Workers can be fired if the drug screen is confirmed positive.

As is always done when Scott signs a bill into law, his office issued a release about the drug testing measure late Monday evening. His letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner transmitting his approval did not include any comment on the plan although it has been a priority of Scott’s since he assumed office last year.

Scott issued an executive order mandating the drug tests last year, but backed away from his plan after he was sued by the ACLU and the union representing government workers. Scott in June limited his order for all but corrections officers pending the outcome of the case in which a federal judge in Miami heard oral arguments late last month.

The ACLU and Democratic lawmakers contend the law violates the constitution’s guarantee of unreasonable search and seizure by the government. And some lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart, objected that workers who drink alcohol the night before could have a positive test result even if they have not been drinking at work. Negron was the sole Republican senator to vote against the measure; three Republican House members also opposed it.

Scott last year also pushed the legislature to pass a law requiring that food stamp and emergency cash assistance applicants pass drug tests before receiving benefits. In October, a federal judge temporarily put that requirement on hold, ruling the drug screens were unconstitutional.

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20 Responses to “Gov. Scott quietly signs state worker drug testing into law”

  1. mike Says:

    Its about time… you’re doing a good job Governor Scott… keep at it

  2. Angie Says:

    The incredible waste of taxpayer money on drug tests that target such a few number of violators is a travesty and insult to the 100,000 state workers. I wonder how the Governor will profit from this endeavor. I’m sure there’s a link.

  3. Imeanreally Says:

    Let’s see here. The Governor is a State worker. As are all the legislatures, judges, office workers. Are they going to be tested? The post that praises the Governor is just a typical underinformed, undereducated, Fox Noise, Florida voter. Garbage in, garbage out. This Governor has done NOTHING to create real jobs in the State. Just wasting more tax dollars and appealing to the fringe base. One term hack.

  4. Thomas Says:

    He signed the law quietly for a reason. If it were a just or necessary law, there would have been much fanfare and publicity. This is an underhanded law designed to punish state workers because the republican led legislative body was unable to fleece them for 3% of their salary. This is a very vindictive group, who thought their republican majority could force any law they saw fit onto state workers. Legal isues and the State Constitution mean nothing to unethical leadership, power is everything, and they can’t loose without a vindictive end. The lawsuits will cost the state millions of taxpayer dollars, and it means nothing to those in charge, who will continue to do the bidding of corporations who toss millions into their “campaign” funds.

  5. Dan P Says:

    In the process of passing this law and exempting themselves from it, the proponents lied about a Supreme Court case that they said exempted themselves.

    See here:

    http://blog1990a.blogspot.com/2012/03/drug-testing-and-jimmie-t-smiths-lies.html

  6. ALLEN WEST MUST GO Says:

    Rick Scott is a CRIMINAL.

    Every word he utters is an injustice.

    Vote out ALL the Republicans in November. The constant series of outrages that they are putting this state through MUST END.

    November 6, 2012.

    V-O-T-E!
    V-O-T-E!
    V-O-T-E!

    End Republican Tyranny!

    FREE FLORIDA!

  7. Tea Lady Says:

    Oh, this is a Big Mistake! It is Most Unwise! For two reasons.

    First, it runs against the cherished concept of Constitutionally Limited Government. Most Americans agree: the Less Government, the Better! Big Government $olutions are worse than the ills they are (supposedly) intended to fix.

    And this “suspicion-less” (i.e., random) drug testing is, I say emphatically, NOT consistent with the concept of Limited Government. It is a Big Government $olution!

    And second, how is this about Fiscal Responsibility? Yes, drugs create problems in the workplace. But is suspicion-less testing the answer? Is it cost-effective? I think NOT!

    I certainly hope Governor Scott comes to his senses, and remembers the fundamental values We Americans cherish:

    Constitutionally Limited Government
    Free Markets
    Fiscal Ressponsibility

    .. And while we’re on the subject of Big Government $olutions, let’s get rid of Citizen’s Insurance!

  8. Al Ferraro Says:

    This governor is an idiot! He is so anti-regular worker/resident, he doesn’t have a clue! State workers are hard working folks, over worked, and severly underpaid as it is. Then this idiot goes and tries to screw with our retirement plan, which has been non-contributory since I think it was 1974?……Now, he wants to treat us like we’re some kind of druggies?

    I’ll tell you what Governor Scott…..You can try to drug test me…….but I’m not peeing in a cup for you or anyone else! It is a violation of my rights! I work extremely hard at my job, and haven’t done drugs since the 70′s when I was a stupid youngin! I refused to be subjected to this violation! You know why he’s doing this? Because if anyone does test positive, he gets rid of another state worker! Exactly what he’s been trying to do right along……Smaller government, and more privatization……

    You are an idiot Governor Scott, if you think for one minute that we’re going to put up with this invasion of privacy!!! I’ll sue you if you try!!!

    By the way…..with such a large deficit…….how do you supposed the state’s going to pay for these drug tests?

    Perhaps a kick back from some of the companies that Gov. Scott owns that performs these tests?

    Enjoy your term now Scott…….you won’t be invited back for another term!!!

    As for your remark ther ‘Mark’……..what are you jealous? What have you got against the state employees, who by the way are the real folks in this state that are keeping the state running……….

  9. ALLEN WEST MUST GO Says:

    Call it PEE-GATE.

    And to all state workers, I say:

    Don’t pee in the cup!

    Tell the drug testing agent that you need his/her help holding the cup.

    Then “Miss”.

    Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to piss on your face, Mr. Government Drug Testing Mule.

  10. jim Says:

    Another sad day for the people of Florida.
    The Republican majority legislature and Governor prove once again beyond a shadow of a doubt that cannot be trusted or will act in good faith an behalf of the citizens of Florida.
    Republicans willfully violate the tenants that are at the heart of their core ideology.Another sad day indeed.

  11. Voter Says:

    Very disappointed that the Governor and legislators conveniently excluded themselves from this. A state worker is a state worker.

  12. alg Says:

    way to fiscally responsible and follow the small government mantra of the teabaggers heck of a job brownie!

  13. Jason Says:

    I think this is a great idea. If you are getting any tax payer money from the government, you should have to take part in the random drug test. I don’t want my money going out to pay for drugs.

  14. Dan P Says:

    Jason, are you in favor of drug testing social security and medicare recipients? Everybody in public schools?

    And while we are at it, how about the executives of the big corporations who get special tax cuts and government handouts?

    The trouble is that the testing affects many many innocent people, while “catching” very few guilty drug users. That’s not the kind of country our founding fathers wanted us to have, you know.

  15. Tee Says:

    The Republicans wonder why jobs are not being produced in Florida and why the unemployment rate is the highest in the Country. But everything is OBAMA fault because of the greed and communist acts that the republican oppose upon us. Not only that, look at our educational/ public schools! We are already short – handed! Children are NOT getting the teachings they should and majority of the seniors are NOT graduating!!! Although, I do not do drugs nor work in the public sector, I do believe this is an insult to everyone that does work in the public sector! VOTE REPUBLICANS OUT!!

  16. Imeanreally Says:

    Jason and any other TeaPublicans are always on their soapbox screaming for smaller less intrusive government, yet their parties are the FIRST to defer TO the government for ways to involve their religious, paranoid belifs into my life. Hypocrites.

  17. Bill Neubauer Says:

    Perhaps thanks to an overactive ACLU we are becoming a too-sensity society. We object to showing ID to cops even though we have to show ID to dozens of other entities. (I had to show ID to the pharmacist to pick up my prescription. It didn’t hurt me a bit.) My son had to take a drug test just to work as a pharmacist. It didn’t hurt him either.
    Somebody in the legal system should apply a modification to ID laws. IF THERE IS NO PAIN INVOLVED, IT SHOULD BE OKAY!
    Besides, it’s free country, isn’t it? If state workers don’t want to take a drug test, they can get a job somewhere else. As a taxpayer, I’d like to see them tested.

  18. Dan P Says:

    One of the problems is that if the state can require its workers to take a drug test without probable cause or special safety considerations, it can require everybody to do so.

    The Bill of Rights doesn’t say “these provisions do not apply if there is no pain….”

  19. Imeanreally Says:

    You don’t get it, Neubauer. These idiots work for us, just as much as the road crews or any other Stae worker. Test them. And you shouldn’t have to show a cop your identification if you are simply walking down the street. And the law says you don’t have to, but most police will make it into something other than an illegal stop. Thank God for the ACLU. They didn’t create these laws and protections, they just see that they are enforced.

  20. patent Says:

    Road America, WI, ElkHart Lake, Google it man. The greatest track in North America.

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