ACLU Sues Over Gov. Scott’s State Employee Drug Testing Order

MIAMI (CBS4) – The American Civil Liberties Union has gone to court to stop an executive order by Gov. Rick Scott which requires drug testing of state employees without regard to suspicion.

Executive Order 11-58 requires pre-employment drug testing for all prospective new hires of state agencies under the governor’s authority. It also requires random drug testing of all current employees, from executive leadership to part-time employees. ACLU officials said Wednesday such screening violates privacy rights and represents an extreme overreach of Scott’s power.

“Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace,” said Scott last March.

The ACLU says the drug testing policy simply attempts to resurrect a policy previously found unconstitutional by a federal judge in a 2004 ACLU case against the Department of Juvenile Justice. The suit found the random drug testing of state employees to be unconstitutional, and the plaintiff was awarded a settlement of $150,000. From the judgment: “DJJ had (and apparently still has) a random drug testing policy applicable by its terms to all DJJ employees, top to bottom. DJJ now virtually concedes the policy cannot constitutionally be applied to at least some DJJ employees.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed blanket suspicion-less drug testing only if “the risk to public safety is substantial and real.”

The ACLU action comes one day after the governor signed a bill requiring that welfare recipients also be drug tested. They must pass the test before receiving benefits. Applicants will have to pay for the tests themselves and will be reimbursed if they pass.

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

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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

  • ConcernedCitizen

    The ACLU has no business in the running of the state government. If the governor wants to know his employees, yes his employees, they work for him, he is the state. He, the state has the right to know. If they have something to worry about, maybe they should join the ranks of the unemployed and then be drug tested to receive their unemployment. So tired of the give me attitude. I believe every member of the ACLU should be brought up on charges of conspiracy to bring down this country. Maybe send them to the front lines on the war on terror. Like to see some lawyers argue their point when an RPG is coming toward them. ACLU be damned.

    • True Patriot

      Concerned Citizen, do you even know what the ACLU does? It’s mission is to defend the Bill of Rights.They defend the Civil Liberties guaranteed to all of us in the constitution. a job that can sometimes cause them to stand up for important rights guaranteed to unsavory people. So your solution is to charge those people who defend the bill of rights that give you the right to blather such bulldoze? I hope you see the irony in that, because it it were not for the actions of the ACLU you might not have the right to spread your ‘enlightenment’ to the masses.

    • kline

      Your and idiot!!!

    • John Koontz

      Don’t you REALLY mean ‘CIVIL LIBERTIES’ be damned, “They work for Him…He is the State…” You sound just like a character out of Orwell’s “1984”, talking about Big Brother !!!!

    • Kimberly Turner

      I couldnt agree MORE with the need for drug testing. Its about time someone stepped up and said hey, since your TAX DOLLARS pay these people to work, I’m going to ensure you get what you paid for. ALL states need to do this ESPECIALLY for people on welfare.

  • Chucky...

    So the new governator comes in, and as part of his platform he makes it a priority to bring the heavy hand of government down on everyone’s life style through random drug testing?!

    Since when?! I was never on-board for that; how does that help my life?!

    Leave people alone, governor! Get on with the business of fiscal policy, and governing the state!

  • nancy

    Why shouldn’t government employees be subject to random drug testing; there are many companies in the private sector that require such testing. It’s time to clean house.

    Can you imagine how much money the taxpayers would save if people on welfare, WIC, etc. were drug tested?

  • Maria

    If you want to receive other tax payers’ money for free you should be tested for drug abuse.

    This is to their advantage as well!

  • Danny

    Yah and when government employees are found taking drugs, people ask why werent there any drug tests taken. People are so flamin’ stupid. Drug tests are not unconstitutional when you’re a government employee who is sworn to obey the law.
    This is just another case of the ACLU overriding common sense for personal liberty.

  • Tim3500

    Last I heard drugs are illegal. I don’t want my taxes paying state workers or deadbeats to do drugs on my dime.

  • aclu and proud

    BRAVO! Im glad my membership dues are going to stand up to this tyrant and expose the repuke hypocrisy about less government and individual liberty.or does that only apply to the affluent, white and conservative?

    Im glad the Repuke true colors are showing. Maybe people will wise up for the 2012 election and recognize that a moderate democrat is better than any rep. Kinda makes me wish these people had been taken away May 21(the crazy preacher from California :)

  • ACLU and Proud

    “You’re an idiot”

    Kline here seems to prove the old adage that conservatives tend to suffer from less education than progressives, or perhaps he’s a product of Guvn’r Ricky’s school budget cuts.

  • michael wind

    everyone in the state that has a gun and or a badge must be given a lie detector test then we will have a normal society,otherwise most of the law enforcent is filled with criminals.

  • CAM


  • John Koontz

    Test Rick Scott, the Florida Legislature and ALL politicians, ALL cops, judges, corrections workers and ALL health-care workers. I bet 30% are high right now !

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