Florida Governor’s Drug Testing Has Cost Taxpayers Almost $400,000
The Florida government started making welfare applicants and state workers pee in cups to prove they weren’t on drugs in 2011, only to have both programs quickly halted by federal courts on constitutional grounds. In response to a records request from the Florida ACLU, the Scott administration disclosed it has spent $381,654 appealing the unfavorable rulings.
“Every court that has heard Gov. Scott’s argument that the state has the power to compel people to submit their bodily fluids for government inspection without suspicion of wrongdoing has rejected it as a violation of the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable searches,” said Shalini Goel Agarwal, staff attorney for the ACLU in Florida.
“It’s become a costly and embarrassing boondoggle for Floridians,” Agarwal added.
Scott argued that drug testing welfare applicants would save the state money. But in the few months the state screened all those seeking aid under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, the rate of positive results was so low the cost of the tests likely outweighed the savings of denied benefits.
Blanket testing of state workers is also being shot down by the courts while costing taxpayers money.
A lower court ruled that blanket urinalysis of state workers, meanwhile, violated their constitutional right to privacy. The Supreme Court declined to hear Scott’s appeal of that ruling in April.