Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Politics

State worker drug testing law heads to governor

TALLAHASSEE — Florida lawmakers approved a plan to allow random drug tests for state employees Friday, on a 26-14 Senate vote.

Bill sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said the bill was necessary to curb the problem of illegal drug use in Florida.

"For us to put our heads in the sand and say, 'Oh no, we won't allow our state employees to be drug tested,' is disingenuous," said Hays. "Just because somebody works for the state, doesn't make them any less likely to have a drug abuse problem."

While similar random testing programs without suspicion are common in some private sector industries, court rulings indicate that government drug tests may be unconstitutional.

The bill allows state agencies to randomly test up to 10 percent of their workforce once every three months. It would also allow agencies to fire employees the first time they test positive.

Current law only allows random drug testing for "safety sensitive" positions, and prohibits agencies from firing workers who test positive once, requiring treatment programs instead.

Hays, and his House counterpart Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Lecanto, have said the drug tests make sense and will stand up to a constitutional challenge.

Democrats and some so-called "Libertarian Republicans," like Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, voted against the testing plan.

Lawmakers last week voted down an amendment that would have required the governor and elected officials to be drug tested.

"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 last month.

The bill is now headed to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.

Comments
Elizabeth Warren angers prominent Native Americans with politically fraught DNA test

Elizabeth Warren angers prominent Native Americans with politically fraught DNA test

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's release of a DNA test, which suggested a lineage to a distant Native American ancestor, has roiled the indigenous community frustrated about the seizure of cultural and social
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump calls Stormy Daniels 'horseface,' cheers judge's dismissal of defamation suit

Trump calls Stormy Daniels 'horseface,' cheers judge's dismissal of defamation suit

President Donald Trump celebrated the dismissal of a defamation suit brought against him by adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, calling Daniels "horseface" on Tuesday and vowing to retaliate against he
Updated: 1 hour ago
Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

Realignment at Big Bend intersection promises safer traffic flow after construction headaches

GIBSONTON – A new north-south road is coming to relieve traffic along U.S. 301, but making way for it promises some short-term traffic headaches for a South Shore region already stymied by congestion.The new road would run more than four miles...
Published: 10/16/18
Judge throws out Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Trump

Judge throws out Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Trump

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit from adult film actress Stormy Daniels that claimed President Donald Trump defamed her when he suggested she had lied about being threatened to keep quiet about their relationship. Federal District Judge ...
Published: 10/15/18
Candidates for Pinellas commission race pause to help with natural disasters

Candidates for Pinellas commission race pause to help with natural disasters

As Election Day nears, the candidates for Pinellas County Commission have shifted from campaigning to helping residents deal with the aftermath of natural disasters.Democrat Amy Kedron held a town hall meeting and helped draft policies for businesses...
Published: 10/15/18
Trump calls on blacks to ‘honor’ him with votes, then praises Confederate general Robert E. Lee

Trump calls on blacks to ‘honor’ him with votes, then praises Confederate general Robert E. Lee

LEBANON, Ohio - President Donald Trump praised the Confederate general Robert E. Lee whilst asking African-American voters to "honor us" by voting for him at an Ohio rally which included an unexpected and provocative monologue on America’s Civil War ...
Published: 10/13/18
Carlton: Playing politics when a hurricane’s coming? There oughta be a law

Carlton: Playing politics when a hurricane’s coming? There oughta be a law

Maybe Florida needs a new law. The Disaster Decency Bill, we could call it.Because given the current political divide wider than the Gulf of Mexico, we might need it to mandate what has long been a tradition of coming together in the face of disaster...
Published: 10/12/18
MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur will speak to USF students during a live panel in front of USF's Marshall Student Center on Friday from 2 to 3 p.m.
Published: 10/12/18
Monica Lewinsky comes to Tampa on Monday to talk #MeToo, media scrutiny

Monica Lewinsky comes to Tampa on Monday to talk #MeToo, media scrutiny

TAMPA — Monica Lewinsky, an anti-bullying social activist best remembered as the White House intern whose affair nearly brought down a presidency, will be in Tampa on Monday to deliver the keynote address at the 17th annual Franci Golman Rudolph Scha...
Published: 10/11/18
Updated: 10/15/18
Retired Tampa cop gunning for Hillsborough sheriff’s job touts outsider status

Retired Tampa cop gunning for Hillsborough sheriff’s job touts outsider status

One day this summer Gary Pruitt delivered a two-minute pitch to Plant City voters, describing what could change if he were picked to be Hillsborough County’s next sheriff. Among his promises: He would diversify the ranks. But the uniformed competitor...
Published: 10/11/18