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Gov. Rick Scott orders random drug tests for state workers

On the same day a bill was filed to make good on Gov. Rick Scott's pledge to require people receiving welfare to pass drug tests, he signed an executive order that would make state workers take them, too.

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, offered legislation on Scott's behalf in the Criminal Justice Committee to require that all cash-assistance welfare recipients over the age of 18 pay for and receive drug tests. One official estimated that this would affect about 58,000 people.

Scott's order requires each prospective hire under his direction to take a drug test and all current employees to be subject to random drug screenings, affecting potentially 100,000 people. If tests cost the state $35 each, it could add up to $3.5 million.

The American Civil Liberties Union says random testing was ruled unconstitutional in a 2004 case against the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

"The state of Florida cannot force people to surrender their constitutional rights in order to work for the state. Absent any evidence of illegal drug use, or assigned a safety-sensitive job, people have a right to be left alone," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. Simon said the ACLU would represent any state employee who would like to challenge the policy.

Gov. Rick Scott orders random drug tests for state workers 03/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 8:09pm]
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