TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – A bill from the Florida Legislature that will require drug testing of welfare applicants is heading to Governor Rick Scott’s desk after it passed the Florida Senate on a straight party-line vote.

The bill would also require that those who apply for welfare must pay for the drug testing out of their own pockets. However, the cost would be reimbursed if the person passes the drug test.

Republicans said the measure was needed because if taxpayers are screened at their place of employment, so should welfare recipients.

Democrats tried to make a point on Wednesday by offering amendments on the Senate floor that would have required drug testing of recipients of economic development grants and Bright Futures scholarships, but were rebuffed.

Another amendment to restrict the tests only to those who had been convicted of drug offenses also failed.

Democrats also said that a federal court ruling that struck down a drug screening program of welfare recipients in Michigan on privacy grounds could render the law effectively useless.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

Comments (14)
  1. MiamiMex says:

    People don’t realize how lucky they are to be getting other taxpayers money.

    But it is bad for them. It makes them lazy.

    Maybe help them out for a short while, maybe 6 months, but no more.

    Of course they should test for drugs. They should also inspect their homes.

    Don’t like it? Get a job. I started at the very bottom and I am still not far from there 🙂 but I make living and enjoy helping others.

  2. Jane Doe says:

    The Seminole Indians were looking at doing that since they have a big drug problem on the reservation. I don’t know if they are drug testing at this time.

  3. Rohieram says:

    If they drug test people who receive welfare, they should also test everyone who receive government entitlements of any kind.
    If this law existed in our recent past,imagine the embarrassment it would have caused the State of Florida and Gov. Bush. I’m sure everyone (except republicans)
    remembers his drug addicted daughter. The poor child was living in the ” State’s
    Mansion. “

  4. Don says:

    I’ve been looking for a job for two years since being laid off from 22 years with the same company. I am now 50 years old. Nobody will hire me. I can’t even get an interview. I am destitute. I’ve even applied for the minimum wage jobs and fast-food restaurants and etc. This situation is crazy.

  5. Maryah says:

    Best news I heard all day. I hope Scott signs this one.

  6. tired says:

    While I agree with this idea, ithe taxpayers shouldn’t be financing anyone’sd drug habbit; I don’t see how this will be implemented. Only if the tests are random do they stand any chance of achieving their goal and there are lots of ways to manipulate a drug screen. As to the privacy issue,I don’t see how this violates the applicants right to privacy, considering the application itself is a matter of public record once it is filed. Further what about the ones already on public assistance, shouldn’t they be “monitored” also what about the clsaimants who abuse alcohol? Tax dollars shouldn’t be paying for all that Hennesy and O.E. either. Lastly, I’m on disability and I am subject to random drug tests for illegal drugs and to make sure I’m “medication compliant”, and I worked and paid into SS since I was 14 for what I get. Most AFDC recipiants have never worked and get a hell lot more!

  7. Amyy Rodriguez says:

    Everyone commenting this article who is against temporary assistance from the gov. should be ashamed, that’s why it’s called temporary. It is supposed to help you get on your feet specially if you have children, it’s not only cash but also daycare for the children is also included. and foodstamps.and medicaid. Everyone situation is different than others. Some recipients do need it and depend on it for various reasons example disabled children. So don’t be so quick to judge anyone. You don’t know what anyone goes thru unless you walked in their shoes.

    1. carol says:

      Don’t take drugs and you won’t have a problem!

  8. Amyy Rodriguez says:

    Not all welfare recipients use drugs or drink alcohol. Unfortunately the state would have to start with their own employees and then the recipients. Welfare is a need not a luxury. Not everyone can get welfare. We need to educate and lead, not judge and point fingers.

  9. Alex Erwin says:

    Not all who receive food stamps are lowly degenerates. People who are disabled also receive food stamps if they do not have enough in earnings to qualify for a higher disability.

    David or whomever you are, I do not live in a graffiti laced neighborhood as your generalization has suggested. I was just unlucky enough to be disabled for the rest of my life.

  10. Torn says:

    I’m torn on this.. Has this law already been put into effect?

    I understand testing those who receive CASH assistance.. alright, then they may be using the funding for drugs or alcohol.. But what about those receiving only Food stamps or Medicaid health care assistance? – How is it fair to make those individuals pay out of pocket for a drug screening they will more than likely just pass anyway? .. and then if they DO pass the state’s refunding the cost? Think of how much MORE money the state will be throwing away. A typical urinalysis costs about $50.00.. So then, for every person refunded, 50 additional dollars is given to them? How many people are on Medicaid.. They need to reform this.. if they DO, indeed pass it and put it into effect. This just does not make sense to me.

  11. sick and tired says:

    As a taxpayer and 52 years old and worried about social security not being there possibly when i’m 62 i have a very big problem with assistance being handed out to any one at the taxpayers expence i think this is a great idea if you don’t do drugs then you don’t have any thing to fear i’m sick and tired of watching as these folks having smokes/beer/drugs/cars/homes at our expence while we struggle to keep what we have cause we don’t qualify for assistance.

  12. Cindy says:

    we have a first time need for our family ever..I am seeing this from the “other side”. my daughter is married to a hard working good man. they have 3 sons , 3 years old and under. my son in law has now benn left a quad froma car accident. she can’t work.. she is a caretaker. so now we for the first time have a family member needing the system. they don’t use drugs .. but what a pain for this to happen. she has so much on her plate.. now she has this to go do.. and it is humiliating…also on another subject..if they find a parent is on drugs again.. they will cut the food stamps to the family..how will the kids eat?? foodstamps can only be used for food right. it ts no the poor kids fault.. I understand this law and do agree with it but something may need tweeking???

  13. Get clean if u want to eat free says:

    Come on!!!! This should had been done long time ago, getting a drug test is not humiliating, i did it to get my job and they should do it to get free assistance and that should be the bottom line, just think about it… Do you know this will be the biggest hit against the drug market, when people can’t pay for the drugs anymore, this will have a huge impact on the Drug dealers, I am a tax payer and i approve this Bill let’s go nationwide on this… get everyone tested and DENIED !!!!! GO GET CLEAN IF YOU WANT IT FREE, and have a decent life without getting up every day and going to work. Also a new bill should be created for those who use the welfare to get their nails, hair done and go out every night and don’t ever work, driving a luxury car, buying expensive clothes, we need to look at all of that ….. Welfare is for those in need of assistance ONLY TEMPORARY… NOT drug addicts, man and woman that don’t want to work… I seen people on welfare living on big houses, they are the only ones that did not feel the negative effect of the bad economy…

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