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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The Department of Yuckiness: More urine tests!



Today's a good day to own a lab company.

First, Sen. Paula Dockery successfully offered legislation, on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott, in the Criminal Justice Committee to require that all cash-assistance welfare recipients over the age of 18 pay for and receive a drug test. One official estimated that this would affect about 58,000 people.

Later, Scott announced that his administration would drug test all state workers. That's potentially 100,000 people. Unlike the drug-testing for welfare recipients, it would appear that the state would shoulder the cost of those tests. But there's a catch. The state already tests nearly every worker anyway.

Leaving aside the privacy arguments (an issue dear to Scott talks about, incidentally, in opposing a pill-mill database), there's a cost factor. By some estimates, it could cost state taxpayers $3.5 million to pay for the $35 tests, though maybe the state could get a deal with a lab company. Still, regardless of the cost, in a year when state worker salaries are being cut along with social services, every expenditure like this could prove politically explosive.

And then there's the yuck factor. How much urine is this?

Well, if each test yields 1.5 ounces of, um, fluid and there are 158,000 possible, um, samples, then that's at least 1,851 gallons of urine a year (assuming there are 128 fluid ounces in a gallon).

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 6:48am]


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