Federal judge strikes down Florida drug test law for welfare recipients

Federal judge strikes down Florida drug test law for welfare recipients

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On Tuesday, a federal judge struck down the Florida law that required welfare recipients to be screen for illicit drugs, handing a defeat to Governor Rick Scott.

The law that took effect in July 2011 (and later temporarily halted) requires welfare recipients to pay for their own urine tests when applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state arguing that the law would violate people’s right to unreasonable searches and seizures by screening everyone applying for assistance who is not suspected of violating the law.

Beyond unreasonable search and seizure, data shows that the cost of a drug testing program for welfare recipients may be more costly than it’s worth. The logic of initially having the drug testing program is to save government funds from being spent on drugs by individual consumers.

In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven halted enforcement of the law. Governor Scott has indicated that he plans to appeal the ruling.

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