Politics

Gov. Scott Signs Welfare Drug Testing Into Law

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Rick Scott

Governor Rick Scott (Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – Expect challenges to a bill signed by Governor Rick Scott which will require welfare applicants to undergo drug testing.

The bill also requires 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. The drug testing bill was a priority for Scott.

“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.”

A similar law which passed in Michigan in 1999 which required random drug testing of Welfare recipients lasted five weeks before it was stopped by a judge. An appeals court ruled it unconstitutional after a four-year legal battle.

On Tuesday, Scott also signed into law another measure that bans the designer drug MDPV or “bath salts.”

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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