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News & Current Events Discuss Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down at the General Forum; A federal judge on Tuesday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that required welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug ...

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Old 01-02-2014, 04:42 PM
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Post Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

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A federal judge on Tuesday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that required welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug testing, setting the stage for a legal battle that could affect similar efforts nationwide.

Judge Mary S. Scriven of the United States District Court in Orlando held that the testing requirement, the signature legislation of Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who campaigned on the issue, violated the protection against unreasonable searches.

“The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied,” she wrote. The ruling made permanent an earlier, temporary ban by the judge.

Mr. Scott, who had argued that the drug testing was necessary to protect children and ensure that tax money was not going to illegal drugs, said that the state would appeal the ruling.

“Any illegal drug use in a family is harmful and even abusive to a child,” he said in a statement. “We should have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drug use in families — especially those families who struggle to make ends meet and need welfare assistance to provide for their children.”

Florida passed the measure in 2011, and the case was being closely watched by several other states, including Georgia, which passed similar legislation in 2013 but found it dogged by legal challenges. State data in Florida also showed that the measure produced few results. Only 108 out of 4,086 people tested — 2.6 percent — were found to have been using narcotics. State records showed that the requirement cost more money to carry out than it saved.

But as the country emerged from the recession, numerous states, powered by the strength of Republicans in many legislatures, sought to make welfare or unemployment checks contingent on drug testing. That is despite a 2003 federal court ruling in Michigan that struck down drug testing for welfare recipients because it amounted to an illegal search.

“In Michigan a number of years ago there was a court decision that had a chilling effect on these kinds of proposals,” said Grant Smith, policy manager of the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that advocates more liberal drug-use laws. “This new ruling should give pause. We have seen a number of proposals continue to be put forward across the country, but the writing is on the wall that requiring people to submit to drug testing for no reason other than being poor and in need of assistance is not going to pass constitutional muster. It’s not fair, it’s not cost effective, and it’s unreasonable.”

Arizona passed a drug-testing requirement in 2009. Nine more states, including Florida, have passed such laws since 2011. At least 29 states debated such measures in 2013, but only two of the bills passed.

In Georgia, the law’s rollout was delayed pending the outcome of the Florida legal challenge. In North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, vetoed such a law. Although the Republican-controlled legislature overrode the veto, the governor has continued to object to the requirement, which he called costly and ineffective.

Tarren Bragdon, chief executive of the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative group in Naples, Fla., that focuses on health care and welfare policy, said the judge’s decision would most likely result in states around the country adjusting their laws so they could meet constitutional muster.

I think what we are seeing is Florida pursuing a strategy of protecting kids by testing all applicants,” Mr. Bragdon said. “You’re going to see a shift in strategy of how to best protect kids in a constitutional way.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/us...down.html?_r=0

The typical argument I had heard for justifying drug testing for welfare applicants involved "cost savings", which was previously shown to be false as Florida's implementation cost more money than running welfare without drug testing...

This is the first time I've heard the "protect the kids" argument.
That argument has so many glaring holes it's almost funny the state offered it up as justification.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

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Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/us...down.html?_r=0

The typical argument I had heard for justifying drug testing for welfare applicants involved "cost savings", which was previously shown to be false as Florida's implementation cost more money than running welfare without drug testing...

This is the first time I've heard the "protect the kids" argument.
That argument has so many glaring holes it's almost funny the state offered it up as justification.
My argument is simply that no one should be forced to help keep an adult druggie alive.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

Yep. If anything. I hope she has opened the way to smash the hell out of the government monkeys' desire to convince Americans that unreasonable searches are okie-dokie with the Constitution.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

Quote:
Originally Posted by foundit66 View Post
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/us...down.html?_r=0

The typical argument I had heard for justifying drug testing for welfare applicants involved "cost savings", which was previously shown to be false as Florida's implementation cost more money than running welfare without drug testing...

This is the first time I've heard the "protect the kids" argument.
That argument has so many glaring holes it's almost funny the state offered it up as justification.
well I can appreciate that kids need protecting from moms who sell their fs for beer and have men over at the first of the month them the party's over and the other three weeks of the month the kid has to hustle something to eat. I've seen that when we lived in FW.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

Ironic how Republicans rant and rave about less government, yet support sh*t like hauling in citizens to make them piss in a cup.

A little consistency would be nice.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

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Ironic how Republicans rant and rave about less government, yet support sh*t like hauling in citizens to make them piss in a cup.

A little consistency would be nice.
Erm... it's not like random people are 'hauled in'. People ASK for money from the government and would then be forced to prove they're not using that money for drugs. I support drug testing for welfare 100%. I also support work programs for welfare. Picking up trash, doing grounds-work on public property, etc in order to get a check. I think anyone getting a check from the government should be doing work FOR the government, and I support the government doing their best to make sure that the recipients of taxpayer funds aren't using that money for drugs instead of food or shelter for themselves or their children.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

I don't know about other states, but in the state I live in, if officials have a justifiable reason, they can require a welfare recipient to test for drugs.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:24 PM
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Post Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

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I don't know about other states, but in the state I live in, if officials have a justifiable reason, they can require a welfare recipient to test for drugs.

I think the bolded portion strikes at the heart of the ruling.
From my interpretation of the news article, it has to do with what constitutes "justifiable reason". It does not look like the court is saying that there are no justifiable reasons.

It looks like this court is saying that simply applying for a welfare check is not (in and of itself) "justifiable reason".
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

Speaking of taxes...
anyone who is paid by the public should be up for randoms imho.
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Old 01-02-2014, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Florida Law on Drug Tests for Welfare Is Struck Down

No problem, instead of listing them as "welfare applicants" list them as "job applicants", call them welfare distribution specialists and do a pre-employment screening and randoms tests there after.

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The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied.
Excellent, perhaps this judicial genius can also rule cops, paramedics and firefighter's also can't be drug tested.

It's not like these people are being pulled off the street and forced to pee in a cup, they are being screened before being allowed to take someone else's money. If they don't want to be tested, they don't have to be.
When I hire someone pre-employment drug screening is part of the deal, don't like it, fine don't work here. Same goes for welfare.
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