UPDATE: Gov. Scott will hold off on state worker drug testsby Dara Kam | March 20th, 2012
Hours after Gov. Rick Scott said agencies under his control would begin drug-testing state workers, his administration issued a memo “clarifying” that the tests won’t begin until a legal battle is resolved.
Jesse Panuccio, Scott’s acting general counsel, sent a memo to agency heads Tuesday evening saying Scott’s June 10 decision to require drug testing only of Department of Corrections employees would remain in place until a lawsuit filed last year by the ACLU and state workers union is resolved.
“Because the legal case remains unresolved, the practical and logistical issues involved with implementing drug testing across all agencies remain the same,” Panuccio’s memo said.
Earlier Tuesday, when reporters asked Scott about the new law, which he signed Monday and which goes into effect on July 1, and whether he would require agency heads to begin ordering the state’s 100,000-plus employees to submit to random drug tests, he said, “Absolutely.”
Asked if Panuccio’s memo meant Scott was backing off what he said earlier, one of his spokesmen, Lane Wright, said, “In a nutshell, we’re not changing anything right now. We know that the litigation is pending. So we’re not jumping in and changing course right away. But the law provides that discretion so it allows that to happen but that’s not what we’re deciding to do at this point.”
Scott, however, appears to be drug testing employees in his inner circle. Secretary of State Ken Detzner told reporters on Tuesday that he submitted to the urinalysis after being appointed by Scott three weeks ago. His test, Detzner said, was clean.
Scott said he implemented the drug screens of executive office workers after he took office.