Fla. welfare drug testing law challenged by ACLU, Navy veteran

The Miami HeraldSeptember 8, 2011 

The ACLU of Florida and a Navy veteran from Orlando have filed a class action lawsuit against the state challenging a new law that requires cash welfare recipients to first pass a drug test.

The lawsuit contends that the drug testing requirement represents an unconstitutional search and seizure.

The suit was filed in federal court in the Middle District of Florida on Tuesday on behalf of Luis Lebron, a Navy veteran and University of Central Florida student who receives welfare while caring for his son and disabled mother.

“I served my country, I’m in school finishing my education and trying to take care of my son,” Lebron, 35, said in a release. “It’s insulting and degrading that people think I’m using drugs just because I need a little help to take care of my family while I finish up my education.”

Gov. Rick Scott signed the drug testing requirement into law in May, fulfilling a campaign promise to test cash welfare recipients.

“The goal of this is to make sure we don’t waste taxpayers’ money,” Scott said in May. “And hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs.”

Under the drug testing law, welfare applicants are required to pay for their test but are reimbursed if they test negative. Positive tests carry an immediate six-month ban on receiving cash welfare assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. A second positive test results in a three-year ban.

The suit is the 10th notable lawsuit targeting Scott or a policy he supported since his inauguration.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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