State worker drug testing bill headed to Senate floorby Dara Kam | March 2nd, 2012
Hours after the House signed off on a measure that would require state workers to submit to drug tests, the Senate Budget Committee sent an identical measure to the floor for a full vote.
With Scott’s legislative affairs director Jon Costello in the room, the Senate Budget Committee approved the measure with a 12-6 vote this afternoon.
Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart lawyer, cast the sole Republican “no” vote on the measure.
The measure is indicative of “more and more intrusive activities of our government,” Negron said after the meeting.
“It’s gotten out of hand. The government is just getting more and more into our personal business,” he said.
The proposal (SB 1358) would allow agency heads to fire state workers who fail their first drug test and does away with a requirement that workers who have drug problems receive employee assistance.
Democrats in both chambers have objected that the bill does not include lawmakers in the drug screening. Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, already have the authority to order members of their chambers to submit to the drug tests, but neither leader has done so.
Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said he sponsored the bill at Scott’s request to rectify the problem created by the lawsuit.
“Unfortunately in today’s society, this is a bill that I feel is very wise public policy,” he said.
But Ron Bilbao of the Florida ACLU said the bill remains unconstitutional, noting that 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.”