Florida’s mandatory drug testing law was temporary blocked by a Federal Judge Mary Scriven because it may violate the constitutional protection against improper search and seizures.
The measure in response to a suit filed by the ACLU on behalf of a 35-year-old Navy Veteran and single father who sought assistance while completing his college education. However, he like nearly 1600 applicants for social assistance refused to take the test.
A federal judge temporarily blocked Florida’s new law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving the benefits on Monday, saying it may violate the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.
The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father. Luis Lebron was seeking benefits to finish his college degree, but refused to take the test. According to the the state Department of Children and Families 7,000 people who took the test passed it, while only 32 people tested positive, or 2% of welfare applicants.
Supporters of the law claim individuals who refuse to take the test do so because they will test positive. Perhaps there are other explanations. Maybe it’s because those who refused to submit to the test did so because the law infers that being poor means being a drug addict.
Perhaps it has something to do with the $25-$35 dollar fee. Sure it will be reimbursed if they pass the test. But if someone is seeking financial assistance, what are the odds that they can afford the test for the assistance they need?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Rick Scott stands to profit from the testing.
Some of the Republican Party’s presidential candidate wannabes suggest that if someone is unemployed it’s their fault. They offer the same sort of rhetoric for poverty.
When defending the law, Rick Scott spoke of personal responsibility and accountability. Eventually he admitted that he “knows” more people on welfare have a tendency to use drugs. (video link: ) http://cnn.com/video/?/video/bestoftv/2011/06/05/exp.nr.fl.gov.welfare.drug.tests.cnn
Accoeding to MSNBC’s report on this story, the welfare allowance for a single person is $180.00 per month and for a family of four, $364.00
Think about that. For a single person that’s about $6 per day and roughly $3.00 per day for each person in a family of four to pay for all living expenses.
Now, if there were statistics to prove Rick Scott’s claim that welfare recipients were more likely to use drugs than someone who wasn’t, then one could at least accept that he was trying to solve a real problem. Few people would support the idea of using tax dollars to support someone’s drug addiction, be that an individual on welfare, a government employee, or a legislator.
However, this is about punishing and humiliating people because they are desperate enough to seek public assistance and if the judge is right, this is about inferring that the poor are not worthy of the rights and protections afforded to all Americans under the constitution.
This law doesn’t even succeed on the claim that it would some how save money. Fortunately, for people seeking public assistance in Florida, Judge Scriven is more in tune with reality than the Governor and the legislators who passed this bill.