Politics & Government

Welfare drug testing signed into law by Fla. Gov. Scott

TALLAHASSEE -- Floridians must submit urine, blood or hair samples for drug testing before receiving cash benefits from the state under a bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Tuesday.

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

The new law fulfills a campaign pledge from Scott, but has raised legal questions. The ACLU of Florida has signaled it might sue over the law.

“Once again, this governor has demonstrated his dismissal of both the law and the right of Floridians to personal privacy by signing into law a bill that treats those who have lost their jobs like suspected criminals,” said ACLU of Florida director Howard Simon.

The law, which goes into effect on July 1, will mean about 4,400 drug tests per month, according to the Department of Children & Families. Taxpayers will reimburse welfare applicants for negative drug tests, which can cost between $10 and $25.

Positive tests will carry an immediate six-month ban on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. A second positive test will result in a three-year ban on state assistance.

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