When applying for a job, applicants must be prepared for a possible drug screening. But what about when applying for…welfare? Florida governor Rick Scott signed a bill last week that will make drug testing mandatory for state residents applying for welfare.
Florida governor Rick Scott made a recent addition to Florida’s drug laws (image source: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/06/01/article-1393263-0C5D5ABA00000578-0_468x295.jpg)
This legislation is the first of its kind in the country and has sparked a great deal of controversy. Opponents see the law as reinforcing negative stereotypes of low income individuals, while supporters feel that it prevents the government from giving undeserved handouts. Scott himself believes that the law will “increase personal responsibility [and] personal accountability,” adding that the government “shouldn’t be subsidizing people’s addiction.”
Under the new law, which will begin July 1st, welfare applicants failing the mandatory drug test will be unable to receive benefits for a year or until they complete a drug treatment program. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in hopes of suspending the new legislation, arguing that it violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searching. Says ACLU of Florida director Howard Simon, “If you show up and do your work and get your work done, then you deserve the respect of your boss and you deserve the protection of your privacy.”