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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

PolitiFact Florida: Rep. Jimmie Smith says lawmakers protected by First Amendment against drug testing

27

March

Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen torched Florida lawmakers for passing a drug-testing bill for state workers that excluded one class of government employees: elected officials who passed the law.

Hiaasen took particular issue with the proposal’s House sponsor Rep. Jimmie Smith, a Republican from Lecanto, and his explanation for a failed attempt to require drug tests for Gov. Rick Scott and legislators.

"It was found to be unconstitutional to drug test elected officials because it prevents us, as citizens, from having that First Amendment right," Smith said.

The defense was novel -- and also wrong. It turns out Smith confused elected officials with candidates, misinterpreted Supreme Court case law and cited the wrong amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Read on for our ruling.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 2:55pm]

    

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