Federal Judge: Drug Testing for Welfare Unconstitutional

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Drug testing for government assistance programs ruled unconstitutional.

A Federal Judge ruled today that Florida’s law requiring all welfare applicants to be drug-tested before receiving benefits is a violation of constitutional rights.

The same judge had already blocked the law from being enforced until a final ruling could be determined, and this ruling makes that block permanent.

In her decision, Judge Mary S. Scriven says,

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.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says that the law is intended to protect children from being raised in homes headed by drug abusers, and that he plans to appeal the ruling.

His statement says,

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.

He does not address why drug abuse among poor families is a higher priority than the same in families who are able to provide for their children without government assistance.

Similar laws have been passed in other states, some of which are waiting to see the final outcome of the legal battle in Florida before implementing the laws themselves.

In 2011, it was determined thatthe cost of drug testing and the rate of drug use made the program a net loss to the state, rather than being a financial saving.

image: micahb37

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