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State rebuffed again on welfare drug tests

Posted by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 8:25 AM
  • 9 Replies

A federal appeals court has upheld a federal judge's decision blocking enforcement of a state law that requires drug tests for people applying for welfare. Gov. Rick Scott immediately vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Writing for a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, former Florida Supreme Court Justice Rosemary Barkett wrote that the state had shown no "empirical evidence" showing higher drug use among welfare recipients.

"The only known and shared characteristic of the individuals who would be subjected to Florida's mandatory drug testing program is that they are financially needy families with children," Barkett wrote in a 38-page opinion. "Yet, there is nothing inherent to the condition of being impoverished that supports the conclusion that there is a 'concrete danger' that impoverished individuals are prone to drug use.."

The decision is a blow to the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott, who called the ruling "disturbing." Scott had made drug-testing part of his campaign platform three years ago, arguing that it would ensure that all welfare dollars were going to support legitimate family needs and not drugs.

"Welfare is 100 percent about helping children," Scott said in a statement Tuesday. "Drug use by anyone with children looking for a job is totally destructive. This is fundamentally about protecting the well-being of Florida families."

The case was brought in September 2011 by theAmerican Civil Liberties Union on behalf of University of Central Florida tudent Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single parent of a four-year-old son. Told he could not receive welfare unless he took a drug test, Lebron refused, while insisting that he was not using drugs.

U.S, District Judge Mary Scriven ruled that the law was a potential violation of the search and seizure provisions of the U.S. Constitutions and said the state must halt enforcement of it until a full trial can occur.

The state then appealed to the 11th Circuit.

"The court's decision clearly states that the Fourth Amendment's protection against being subjected to these kinds of invasive searches protects us all, including those of us who are struggling to make ends meet in this tough economy," said ACLU attorney Maria Kayanan.

"The state of Florida can't treat an entire segment of our community like suspected criminals simply because they are poor and are trying to get temporary assistance from the government to support their families."


by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 8:25 AM
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Replies (1-9):
sweetoctbaby
by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 8:32 AM
1 mom liked this
I definitely think Welfare and even Food Stamps should be given to people who pass drug tests.
ambertreas76
by Amber on Feb. 27, 2013 at 8:36 AM
3 moms liked this

I'd like my tax dollars to go to people who are really in need of assistance for their families and not people who are in need of assistance for a drug habit.    

jbirdsladie27
by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:14 AM
Good.
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gmadiane
by gmadiane on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:11 AM
1 mom liked this

I respect everyones opinion but I dont agree with it for my own reasons, and no I dont get assistance and I am not a drug or alcohol user

bebe_ju-rah
by Bronze Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM
I think the reasoning behind the decision is based on lack of funds, they just won't say it.
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KylesMom409
by Linnette on Feb. 27, 2013 at 3:49 PM
This!!!!

Quoting ambertreas76:

I'd like my tax dollars to go to people who are really in need of assistance for their families and not people who are in need of assistance for a drug habit.    

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LadyBast
by Brenda on Feb. 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM
2 moms liked this

Totally agree how are people on food stamps to pay for this they do not have the money, so I am glad it did not pass I know a lot on them and they could not afford it and they do not do drugs!

Quoting jbirdsladie27:

Good.


Dinimon
by Diana on Feb. 27, 2013 at 10:00 PM
I think the drug tests should be mandatory.
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Fairegirl33
by Melissa on Feb. 28, 2013 at 3:23 PM

 I read that 96.3% of the people tested passed which left the state of FL about $100,000 to pay.

 Many jobs do require drug screening these days.... so I see why many think that this should be required... but what happens to these children who are in need ?  We leave them to starve because their parents possibly are on drugs ?

 http://www.politifact.com/florida/promises/scott-o-meter/promise/600/require-drug-screening-for-welfare-recipients/

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