Fl. Senate Approves Welfare Drug Testing

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)


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