Random Drug Testing State Workers

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - There are more than 100-thousand state workers in Florida, and Governor Rick Scott wants to know they drug-free. Scott’s ordered random drug testing for all state workers.

The ACLU is crying foul and points to a 2004 case in which a federal judge ruled in favor of a state worker who didn’t want to take the test.

“It’s the same grounds as what occurred in 2004, that with out a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing, that this is a violation of their privacy,” said ACLU Spokeswoman Danielle Prendergast.

There are also financial concerns over the tests. They cost about 35 dollars a pop, and opponents say that means the state will be flushing 3.5 million dollars down the drain every year.

Only one state worker would talk to us on camera today, State Senator Mari Sachs. Sachs, a Democrat, says there are better ways to spend the cash.

“Let’s first make sure they have enough money to do their jobs. Number two, what’s the need,” said Sachs.

But Governor Rick Scott is sticking to his guns. We caught up with him late Wednesday afternoon. He says the tests will protect taxpayer dollars.

“Private companies are doing it. It creates safety. It’s the right thing to do, so I’m very excited about doing it because it’s good for the taxpayers of the state,” said Scott.

Scott is giving his agencies 60 days to begin the random tests. The ACLU is offering free legal representation to any state worker who refuses a drug test and wants to challenge the new policy in court.

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  • by Anonymous on Apr 5, 2011 at 07:38 AM
    Ican's get a raise after years on the job but he can spen 3 million on piss test!!!!Wrong
  • by Scuba Location: East Coast on Mar 31, 2011 at 09:11 AM
    Scott recently transferred a controlling interest in his multi-million-dollar chain of walk-in clinics to a trust controlled by his wife. It turns out that Solantic, which is now effectively the governor's wife's company, does business in drug testing.
  • by STATE EMPLOYEE Location: tallahassee on Mar 25, 2011 at 08:22 AM
    I am a state employee and if they pick me I will sit all day and drink water at the lab, and really wate your tax payers dollar. Please call me every week. please please please do!
  • by tally Location: tally on Mar 25, 2011 at 05:38 AM
    State workers, get to work. We dont pay you to complain. GET TO WORK
    • reply
      by @Tally on Mar 25, 2011 at 02:59 PM in reply to tally
      What's this "we"? I pay taxes, too. Besides, how am I to get any work done if I am interrupted from it every quarter to go pee in a cup? How many of you private sector people have a drug test four times a year? I worked in the private sector for 15 years and they all supposedly did random tests but never once was anyone in my location tested. Every quarter is nothing but harassment. I don't do illegal drugs but I very much resent having to prove I don't over and over and over again. How much will this cost? What's next- the food police to make sure I'm not eating anything bad for me?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 24, 2011 at 10:18 PM
    start with the state prosecutors
  • by NoleGirl0918 Location: Florida on Mar 24, 2011 at 08:11 PM
    I am a state employee & do not use any illegal drugs, but have a hard time understanding how this can be required considering the budget shortfall! It's ironic that he wants to cut $3 million dollars from education but then turns around & signs this order! How was this approved by the Office of Fiscal Accountability & Regulatory Reform? Also for all the people who seem to have forgotten, state workers pay taxes the same as anyone else - i don't get (& never have) gotten a tax break for being a state employee!
    • reply
      by And on Mar 25, 2011 at 06:59 AM in reply to NoleGirl0918
      It is a stepping stone for the government to have a list of all prescription drugs that each of its citizens are on. If you are required to list medications, think that it will remain private? I would love to see cigs banned, but I wouldn't support it because it would just be a stepping stone for rights that I do support to be infringed.
  • by Rick Snot Location: Tallahassee, Florida on Mar 24, 2011 at 06:44 PM
    Perhaps Floridians also deserve a tobacco free workplace with random quarterly testing of all employees. While tobacco may be legal the people of Florida deserve lower health care costs by adopting a zero tolerance for tobacco use. We should also include a daily breathalyzer test for each employee to make sure they are sober when they start working. Alcohol causes a lot of illness in the U.S. even though it is legal the taxpayers should not be forced to support people who need crutches like alcohol especially considering the health costs. Zero tolerance for Alcohol. A fat free work environment would be nice considering the current rate of Diabetes in the U.S. and the rising costs of Healthcare. Random body fat index tests would eliminate many sick or future sick people from the workplace saving the State a lot of money while discouraging lazy, freeloading, self indulgent people from using tax dollars to fuel their own sickness and subsequent medical bills. Perhaps an in home surprise visit once a year to make sure there is no other funny business going on that the state or people wouldn't approve of. This is not a rights issue at all. They aren't people they're State Employees. What's the big deal? Right?
  • by Confused State Worker Location: Tallahassee on Mar 24, 2011 at 05:01 PM
    I thought Republicans were suppose to be for less government intrusion on personal affairs, and lower government spending. I guess all that goes out the window when we have a republican governor that owns a huge stake in a major drug testing company, and stands to make big money from his own policy. Why should we be surprised? It isn't the first time Rick Scott has decided to rip off the taxpayers.
    • reply
      by Cows Rule on Mar 25, 2011 at 09:04 AM in reply to Confused State Worker
      Didn't he also sign the company that made him millions from private hospitals to his wife? Wonder if that's why he is going after TMH to privatize. Slick Rick, Tricky Ricky.
  • by Happy Day Location: home on Mar 24, 2011 at 04:14 PM
    The federal court has already ruled this unconstitutional.
    • reply
      by Robert on Mar 25, 2011 at 04:42 AM in reply to Happy Day
      How can it be unconstitional. When Truck driver's and private sector has been doing for years. I must take one every six month or less to keep my CDL
      • reply
        by Unbelievable on Mar 25, 2011 at 05:34 AM in reply to Robert
        Exactly private sectors..Uh..we are not private so don't put the state in the same category!!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2011 at 03:53 AM in reply to Unbelievable
          Why are they different from anyone else. They should be held to a higher standard than the rest. I was in the army , we had to take one it seemed like every other month. so state can do it also.
  • by Kiki Location: Tallahassee on Mar 24, 2011 at 04:06 PM
    Well, that's one way to eliminate the 6,000 jobs Scott wants to cut but with the astronomical cost it wouldn't really save any money. If I had to work for Rick Scott I'd be high every day.
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