Scott "Fulfills Promise" Requiring Drug Screening For Welfare Recipients

By: Governor's Press Office
By: Governor's Press Office

[UPDATE] 5-31 2:40pm -

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Individuals receiving temporary cash assistance from the state will have to pass a drug test to get their benefits under a measure signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott. The controversial measure (HB 353) would require Temporary Assistance to Needy Families recipients to pay for drug tests beginning July 1. Recipients who pass the test would be reimbursed the cost of which could run from $10 to $70, depending on whose counting. Lauded by backers who say the bill will help ensure that tax dollars aren’t spent buying illegal drugs, the measure passed over the objections of critics who say the incidence of drug use are not significantly higher among TANF recipients. The tests, they argue, are in essence suspicion-less searches and therefore illegal under state and federal constitutions. Scott, who signed the bill in Panama City Tuesday morning, has said the new law protects taxpayers’ interests while providing temporary benefits to those in need. “Requiring those who apply for public assistance to pass a drug test before receiving benefits will help prevent Florida’s tax dollars from subsidizing drug addiction,” Scott said in a statement.


Tallahassee, Florida - May 31, 2011 -

Panama City, Fla. – In keeping his promise to require drug screening for welfare recipients, Governor Rick Scott today signed House Bill 353, which requires adults applying for temporary cash assistance to undergo drug screening.

The bill is designed to increase personal accountability and prevent Florida’s tax dollars from subsidizing drug addiction, while still providing for needy children. Parents failing the required drug test may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of the children.

“While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” Governor Scott said. “This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars.”

In addition, Governor Scott also signed House Bill 1039, which makes “bath salts” a Schedule 1 controlled substance, considered in Florida to have no medical value or usage. The chemical substances found in “bath salts” constitute a significant threat to health and public safety. Poison control centers in Florida have reported 61 calls of “bath salts” abuse, making Florida the state with the second-highest volume of calls. The hallucinogenic substances are readily available at convenience stores, discount tobacco outlets, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors, and truck stops, among other locations.

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  • by BabyJ Location: Ut on Jun 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM
    Requiring drug testing government assistance is one thing. Making them pay for it? Where are they supposed to get that kind of money when they're trying to get assistance? Those tests are costly and makes no sense to make them pay for it. That's almost the same as racial profiling. I understand the tax payers are tired of the burden of their taxes going to programs that support the indegent. But what about those who really need it, but can't afford a drug test? Not fair!
  • by Tech Location: PSL on Jun 1, 2011 at 02:29 PM
    So, no one has a problem with the drug testing having to be done through his wife's clinics (Solantics)? I have no problem with the premise. Just that he stands to benefit (monetarily) personally from this move. And, as was told to me by a State Trooper, all Workman Comp claims by state workers also go through his wife's clinic now, if they want their claims to be honored.
  • by Rufus Location: Talahassee on Jun 1, 2011 at 01:41 PM
    Awww, Mannnnn. How am I sposed ta feed dem babies, keep dem rims, and pay de pusher now?
  • by Nameless on Jun 1, 2011 at 12:35 PM
    I am so glad that someone decided to take this on, thanks Gov. Scott. I think it is such a great idea, but I agree with "Pittman" that everyone should be tested. People have to get drug tested to get a job anymore, so it's only fair that people getting money from the State have to do the same. I hope that by the end of next year the State can give statistics on the results of those test; how many passed, how many didn't.
  • by pittman Location: Gasden county on Jun 1, 2011 at 10:28 AM
    So, only those who get cash assistance huh??? what about those who get SSI and FOOD STAMPS. There not gonna be tested?? I know plenty that play the role for ssi & alot of people that sell and buy foodstamps right here in our county then at stores a week later begging for a hand out soon as you step out of the car. if anything be fair test them ALL!!!!!
  • by bree Location: orlando on Jun 1, 2011 at 08:26 AM
    The BIGGER picture is that some people are not working and on assistance because they were terminated or laid off bec of the economy. Some of us are still looking for work. Public assistance is a vicious cycle and its not meant for people to be self sufficient. It's a trap. Who can actually live off of public asst anyway!? What is 200-300 a month going to make a dent in? It doesnt cover bills. You can actually be in need, have paid taxes your entire life and comply with these people to get assistance and its still a burden bec they find any and every reason not to give you help already. I dont do drugs! I'm trying to find work to take care of my kids! The system is a joke! God help us all when we are old and need social security!
  • by Dave Location: So. Ga. on Jun 1, 2011 at 07:47 AM
    You might be able to test clean if you stay off drugs for a week. I don't think most can. The hair test works everytime and cannot be fooled. Suspicion-less testing?, Tell that to the TSA, or the deputy manning the detector at the court house. The only ones screaming about testing are those that use drugs. If you don't use drugs then there is NO problem. RIGHT?
  • by cymru13 Location: Tallahassee on Jun 1, 2011 at 05:54 AM
    Serious question: What's to keep someone from staying off of the drugs for a week or two, passing the test, and going straight back to their lifestyle? Is the gov't going to spring random drug testing on them?
  • by Kryptonite5 on Jun 1, 2011 at 05:17 AM
    The law will be overturned in court, just like all the other similar laws were in the past.
  • by Bolillo Location: Wakulla on Jun 1, 2011 at 03:48 AM
    This bill is worthless. Any ol' drug user knows how to test clean. I say give them a shovel or weed eater for 8 hours then at the end of each WORK DAY give them their "emergency" money.
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