The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott suspends drug test requirement for most state employees

16

June

Gov. Rick Scott has suspended his executive order requiring state agencies to conduct drug screenings of job candidates and random drug tests of current employees, according to a Friday memo.

But the suspension does not affect the Department of Corrections, which will use its experiences to "help further inform the best method of proceeding with procurement and other logistical issues" for other agencies, Scott wrote.

The memo was obtained by the ACLU of Florida, which filed a federal lawsuit to block the order on May 31. In the memo, Scott assures his agency heads he is confident the March 22 order is constitutional, citing the "government's rights as an employer."

"Nonetheless, while the case is pending, it does not make sense for all agencies to move forward with the logistical issues involved in instituting the new policy," he wrote.

Scott also mentions agencies' efforts to coordinate and procure drug-testing services for the lowest cost per test. He said agencies were asked to hold off on adopting drug-testing policies as those discussions took place.

ACLU of FLorida leaders celebrated Scott's suspension. ACLU of Florida executive director Howard Simon called it "nothing less than a massive and embarrassing retreat on the part of Governor Scott." Here's the rest of his statement:

“It’s also ironic that he is now citing cost as a reason for this delay when everyone knew his illegal order was going to cost taxpayers millions of dollars from the start," Simon said in a statement. "It’s also inconsistent with the Governor’s previous statements that he will take this challenge to Supreme Court which would expose taxpayers to even more large legal costs to defend his indefensible order.”

Scott told reporters after Thursday's Cabinet meeting that he is not retreating on the issue.

"Our taxpayers expect our state employees to be productive, and this is exactly what the private sector does," he said. "It's the right thing and we're going forward."

[Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:30pm]

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...