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June 2nd, 2011
05:31 AM ET

Florida’s gov. wants to drug test welfare recipients– good idea or not?

(CNN) - Saying it is "unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction," Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed legislation requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.

"It's the right thing for taxpayers," Scott said after signing the measure. "It's the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don't want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs."

Question of the Day: Florida’s governor wants to drug test welfare recipients– good idea or not?

Let us know what you think. We could read your answer on American Morning.

Filed under: AM Asks
soundoff (450 Responses)
  1. R Fox

    It's a good idea, but why stop here? Let's also test our elected representatives too. Based on many of the laws that are passed they MUST be on drugs, because they definitely are not in touch with reality.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  2. Chris

    Noone who isn't using illegal drugs should balk at the idea of being drug tested. Civil rights? What about the rights of the people whose taxes are paying for the welfare recipients? What about the civil rights of those who work every day, have no time off, still have to take care of their kids, cook and clean, and still tllry to sleep enough hours to go back to work the next day? What would happen if all the working folk went on welfare? Who would subsidize us?

    June 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  3. Cindy

    To those of you who are so against this....are you welfare recipients? If not, then you should be glad that someone is finally going to do something about a system that has been broken for years! Invasion of privacy, some of you say? Why should those that choose not to work have any more privacy than those of us that work and have to undergo drug testing? I work next door to the social services office and I see the cars, the jewelry, the tatoos, the clothes, the hair. I AM PAYING FOR THAT! No one should be allowed to make are career out of collecting welfare. It should be like unemployment. A specific time period and they are done! I realize some people are not able to work. That's what disability is for. Come on people, you should be fighting for this system to be fixed!

    June 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  4. lee

    gov slim shady needes to be drug tested! He was put in office to create jobs i haven't seen him create any thing but problems for the kids in florida he's cut education and now the kids cant eat! does the consitution not apply in this state?

    June 5, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
  5. L Carter

    For me it is such a no-brainer! Of course they should be screened for drugs to receive welfare.

    June 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  6. David Hitchcock

    96% of earlier comments are made by people that have no idea what they are talking about. They are obviously uneducated in the Constitution of the United States and it's Bill of Rights and are just continuing to pass on stereotypical ideas that have no basis in fact. Sure, there are people receiving assistance that do not deserve it. I personally know 2 that receive assistance that smoke cigarettes; Yes, cigarettes are legal but why should I have to pay for them when I don't smoke? I also know 2 more that drink; Sure, Alcohol is legal but why should I have to pay for it when I don't drink? You cannot (according to the Constitution of the United States) be subject to any search or seizure without due cause and drug testing would be considered a search; Also, targeting specific groups (in this case, welfare recipients) was tried back in the 1930's by Nazi Germany and we went to war to prevent that sort of thing from happening again. I do not want the sacrifices that my family made in fighting that war to be dishonored by allowing the same type of thing to occur in our own country. I do think something needs to be done to fix a broken system but we shouldn't fix the back end of the boat by tearing up the front end of it; Either way, the boat will sink!

    June 5, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Name*aj

    great idea! if they pee dirty then they should suffer ALL consiquencies! they should loose welfare and be charged!

    June 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  8. GreenThumb

    This is a republican good idea and we know how those tend to turn out. In all fairness, I could support with two caveats:
    1. Make the testing applicable to all who receive taxpayer monies especially politicians for obvious reasons.
    2. Include in the definition of "drugs" alcohol and tobacco. Otherwise you aren't serious about saving money and are just fronting when it comes to the kids.

    June 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  9. Dave Brett

    There are some good comments here so far. I agree with many of them. The one that sticks out most positive to me, is anyone that receives assistance should be subject to drug screening. Random may be a little more ACLU friendly, as long as majority get tested. The Bailouts and politicians getting screened isn't a bad idea either. Like some say, most of us have to be screened regularly as part of keeping a job.

    June 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Dave Brett

    This is the best piece of legislation that has come out of a politician in a long time. Although the ACLU and Rep Hastings say it's unfair and profiling, too bad. It may offend a few people, but just like screening at an airport, the innocent shouldn't feel threatened. We are giving away to much of others' hard earned money, to a few that have no intention of trying to earn their own.

    June 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  11. Caleb

    I agree with the law, it may benefit future generations –my only concern is that crime rates may rise due to desperate individuals committing desperate crimes because they've lost their source of income. Legitimate drug addicts are not rational creatures; this might just back a lot of irrational people into a corner.

    Gainesville, FL

    June 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  12. Jack Taraz

    GREAT idea! But, just a start to the Welfare reform. Only give 18 months total Welfare. After that, you are on your own. 18 months in a row, or over a few months whenever needed. But, NO MORE than 18 months total. We passed that law by almost 70% of voters back in the early 2000's, in California. But, they never implemented it. Now, look at them, 20 BILLION dollars in the hole!

    Drug test the Welfare addicts and also make them work for it. Working in our parks and on road sides, picking up trash, emptying trash cans, etc. We should have SPARKLING clean park systems with all the Welfare bums out there. Instead, they sit at home or hang out on street corners getting into criminal trouble.

    June 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  13. The David

    When questioned about his expected monetary benefit from the drug testing legislation, the Governor responded that he was in the process of selling his company; so he wasn't going to benefit directly from the legislation. However, what the reporter didn't ask and what the governor didn't say, was whether his company would be worth more and easier to sell if he passed the legislation.

    June 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  14. J Webster

    I don't know why this is important any more? We have lost so many rights as citizens, why should this action surprise any one! We have so many "nanny" laws that have been enacted since 1985 and they keep getting worse. Next they will add a law that a police officer can check your shorts to see if they are clean when he stops you for a routine traffic ticket. Come on folks, this is "nanny" government at its worse.

    Yes you have to get drug tests for work, but that's because the courts and the legal system allow it to happen. This law and others like are one more example of the loss of AMERICAN rights!

    June 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  15. alma

    Members of the US military are regularly and randomly drug tested. Employees of private businesses are drug tested. these are all voluntary arrangements in that the employees or memeber of the military made a choice to enlist or become employed knowing a drug test would be a probability.

    receiving welfare or any other government dole is not, as far as I understand, obligatory. No one is required to receive a government hand-out. If you don't want to be drug tested, don't apply for the hand-out.

    there is no constitutional right to receive a government hand-out. It is a privilege granted by a government agency and can be rescinded just as easily. To say that putting a qualification such as drug testing on it is unconstitutional implies that getting this handout is a constitutional right,

    when will we starting acknowledging that getting a government handout is not an "entitlement" but a temporary privilege. There is no constitutional mandate that requires the continuation of welfare, medicare, medicaid, social security or any other government program.

    June 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  16. Don

    If I have to be drug tested at the drop of a hat to work and earn money, then recipients of my money should also be tested in the same manor! For the past 14 years the government (DOD and DOE) has tested me for pre-employment and randomly (atleast 4 times per year) throughout this period. I strongly feel that I should be tested along with everyone that I work with, and that anyone who gets one cent from the check I earn should be tested too.

    June 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  17. jeannie

    I've been saying this for years....drug test them. Only I was hoping they would do it in Michigan. I live in a small town full of welfare bums and the majority of them hang out in the bars, casino and are on drugs. (meth, heroin, UNprescribed prescription meds, cocaine) Many of them work for cash on the side too. I'm even related to some of them. I think this is a great idea to drug test them, only they should do it randomly without giving them notice. Obviously it is just too easy to clean out your system for the test and than go right back to using. I feel sorry for the people on welfare who are legit and really need help that have to go through the drug testing process but it's really no different than employees who have to be tested. It does make one wonder....If these people need welfare....where are they getting the money for their drugs, booze & gambling?

    June 5, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  18. Jenny

    Great Scott! I think he's on to something!

    June 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
  19. a6102658

    this idea that all Welfare people do drugs has been pushed by the conservatives and recently by Fox News.
    Remember, the less money with use in this programs, the more money GOPers to use in Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, more free money for Corporations and big bans, more money for Wars, and the list goes on.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  20. a6102658

    Many here make the assumption that because you are poor and on Welfare, you do not have the ability to uphold moral values, like the Rich "SMIRK" These people want their best for their kids and live a proud life like many here.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  21. a6102658

    I have worked with many that are using assistance and the poor, These are people that are in truly bad economic situation, many do not even can afford a car, and many of the jobs are not close to bus routes.
    Few I dealt with look like they were abusing alcohol, but not drugs.

    June 5, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  22. RogerGrimberg

    Invasion of privacy, unconstitutional and illegal to say the least. So let me get this straight, Rick Scott wants to drug test all welfare recipients that apply for food stamps, TANF and Medicaid.

    I thought this guy was against BIG GOVERNMENT, but now he wants to get the Government in the urine of our poor. So first they lose their job through no fault of their own, then they have to go through the indignity of having to ask for help to give food to their kids, then we try to take it away by drug testing them. Has any one of you EVER had to rely on Food Stamps? It is the most demeaning process, almost as bad as getting booked in jail. You have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get approved and then you have to continue submitting support documentation to continue receiving the food stamps. MOST recipients are REQUIRED TO WORK Community Service in order to receive these food stamps at the rate of $7.25/hr. – yes, minimum wage. Every week the "community hours" have to be logged and submitted to the office in order to continue receiving food stamps.

    So it is NOT a handout and to FORCE people, the POOR, the NEEDY, to have to take a drug test is proof of HOW LOW WE HAVE COME!

    Attack the poor? At what cost? So the government will reimburse ALL costs of drug-testing if you pass. Which means, Florida will be spending millions of dollars, so we can save a few thousand. WHO THINKS THIS IS A GOOD IDEA?

    I'm sure Jesus would be proud of all the ones that approve of drug-testing, since he drug-tested over 5000 when he fed them fish and bread...... Why don't these people want to take away the WELFARE we give to BIG OIL? $4 BILLION A YEAR!

    June 5, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  23. Mary Padron

    Yes, welfare recipients should be drug tested just like all people are drug tested who are applying for jobs, colleges, etc. But we should extend the requirement to all people who receive the American tax dollar, including government workers, student aid recipients, bail-out CEOs, etc. And while we are at it, we need to ask the question, "Why is Congress exempt from drug testing and sexual harassment law and a host of other things?" I also agree with JJohnson's idea that the drug-using welfare recipient with children, should not be allowed to keep their children and given over to foster parents. Now the question is "Do foster parents have to pass a drug test?" I do not know the answer to this. Anyone?

    June 5, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  24. Julia

    One more comment, no one should be drug tested without reasonable cause. Many states are now violating Americans' IV Amendment rights. Private Orwellian Companies in the USA are now violating the IV Amendment rights of many our our citizens, 1984? Right around the corner. Also, correction, I should have said Bully the Poor Law, since it is a state Orwellian Law.

    June 5, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  25. Rennie

    T J,
    I understand the possible tax dollars saved from this welfare law, but more questions rise, like what of the children who's parents may use any sort of drug's, we penalize the parents for their drug use but hurt the children, what when children go to school and are in time asked why their so hungry cause its bound to get out, do we start taking children away from parent's for lack of food. which also takes money to do, and do we start forcing a mentality of 1-3 years without welfare meaning more crime because if drug using parent's do love their children then human nature does take over as in survival of the fittest especially with the job market being the way it is, human nature and history show's people have to want to change, and if you try to force them to change well crime does come as part of the package, if the drug user quits because they see the effect on their family of this the still have a whole year to do without, if job's don't fall into their laps then crime will ensue, I have not 1 problem with drug testing, I could be drug tested right now at any time on the job and that's not a problem, I don't want to get run over by equipment on the job from drug abuse, I ask is this the proper way to finger drug abusers without thought of those linked to the drug abuser like children and neighbor's, we as human's act like animal's when cornered, even a zoo lead's and animal into doing what they want, not cornering the animal and taking away their food, without the promise of a survival revolt in kind.

    June 5, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  26. Sherey

    I love this! It's about time someone comes up with some creative legistlation that could possibly cut out some of this nation's debt, rather than digging us further into it. I would also include all those that apply for federal grants, Medicaid, or any other type of government assistance. It does open up other problems that will have to be addressed; such as, what to do if a parent with children tests positive. I seriously doubt parents that know they won't pass would even attempt to sign up. This will be a great economic boost. Just think of all the new workers needed to make drug tests, and also for the company's that make "supplements" to help you pass a drug test. So what if this is costly! Anytime you do anything it will cost something! This country has gotten so apathetic. We are already in so deep now that it can't possibly do much more harm. The average American can't get legitimate employment in this nation nowadays without submitting to drug testing, so it seems to me to be fairplay, and long over due. It'll get some people off of drugs at least temporarily, and maybe, just maybe their minds will have a moment of clarity to try to get their life together.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  27. Pamela Joanne Atkins

    I live in South Carolina and I support Governor Rick Scott in the state of Flordia 110% in his decision to drug test welfare recipients. I have
    been saying that this should be done for a number of years. I work for one of the largest health care facilities in the United States and I have seen widespread abuse of the Medicaid system. I am a Patient Care Technician, so I don't make a lot of money and I have endured many struggles, but I don't look to my government system to bail me out. I just work extra hours all the time and make it on my own. I think that we as a nation do not have do a lousy job with the screening process for the applicates wh are applying for welfare. Sorry, but if you are driving around in an Esclade, have your hair done up in the latest style, have your finger/toe nails done in french manicure every two weeks, then maybe someone needs to take a closer look at your application. That does not add up!!! I can't afford to live this way, but I go to work everyday to support folks like this? I have witnessed many Medicaid recipients recieving services that my insurance company WILL NOT even think about paying for. ie. gastric bypass and then don't worry about your skin hanging, just come on back and your Medicaid will pay for a tumy tuck to boot!! And TJ is wondering why on earth anyone would ever want to do a drug test on reciepts??? Everyone in America shoud stand up and scream about the welfare system! Yesterday I heard on CNN that President Obama wants to TAKE money from Medicare to give to Medicaid!!! What insanity. I just want to add that this is my first time to EVER make any comment on anything that is in the news, but it is time for us to stand up and demand that our leaders stop with all the handouts and wasteful spending. I have been employed by my company for 13 years and they can perform drug testing on me whenever they choose. I WORK everyday, sick or not so why should not someone who is NOT working be treated any different?

    June 5, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  28. Rbanda

    Gov. Rick Scott can be recall by the Floridan! Why is he just concentrating on the poor? What is going on here? The tea party does not like the poor. Do you think the poor likes being poor. Gov. Rick Scott I bet never went to sleep hungry! God is looking how he is directing on the poor. Another thing why he is just wasting tax payers dollars? Now the place where they will be conducting these test, his wife works there. Who knows she will have that POWER to make all neg. Everybody out there that are not being nice, think that God is not looking at them? God is looking at all that hate. They will not go into heaven!
    So try to get away from what is important in our lives and that is being happy and having a job so we cant eat an pay our bills. No one wants to be on welfare, unless you have no job! All of these tea party people have no concern for the poor., They believe being selfish and rich is all they want. Lets start to talk about taking away their Medicaid and Social Security and they freq out. God is looking!!

    June 5, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  29. Julia

    Rick Scott, let's go back to 1997, remember Columbia HCA? The last I heard Medicare/Medicaid payments to hospitals was also tax payers' money. CNN, what was the Federal Government fine for fraud in that case? Rick Scott, practice what you preach, violate your own IV Amendment rights, force your self-to get a drug test, after all, you're salary is paid by tax payers. Oh and if you pass the drug test, you can have the tax payers reimburse you. You should also re-name this law to the Bully of the poor bill. Yep Rick you are a bully, (paid for by the tax payers)

    June 5, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  30. Mary Stuntz

    After finding a Welfare receipent guilty of illegal drug using, is Rick Scott going to turn these people loose on society so they can indulge in a life of crime to support their habit?
    Don't we have enough crime in this country caused by people robbing, stealing, etc. to support their habit.
    If we find a Welfare receipent guilty of using illegal drugs, there should be mandatory rehabilitation. Don't turn these desparate people loose on the public – we have enough crime, especially in Florida.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  31. Jamie

    Ok, I'm game. But what constitutes a drug? Are you going to test these people for Xanax, Percocet, Oxycodone, Vicodin (oh the list is neverending) There's you're problem, the endless amount of prescription drugs that people on welfare can get free...paid by ME the one who pays taxes. -not pot and the ILLEGAL drugs. But of course prescription drugs wont be counted. Because those are considered legal and "prescribed" Do you know how many people on welfare that I know don't even use the prescribed pills! They get some hack of a doctor to prescribe as many scripts as possible and then they sell them on the street. I bust my but working ect. I know people who make more money than me in this racket. I want them tested for the amount prescribed that should be in their system. And by the way, who is going to bus all these people to get tested? Oh, tack on the gas money we will have to pay out as well. Rick Scott is a joke. I didnt vote for him, and I am moving out of this state because I knew this would happen. He doesn't have an interest in Celebrex? BS Get to the heart of the problem that concerns the taxpayers the medical industry.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  32. Laurie

    I believe it is a good idea for the drug testing, but i believe it should paid for by the state as I do not have to pay for the drug testing that I go through for my job, just as the public does not want medical personel being drug abusers i do not want my tax dollars going to drug abusers, it is bad enough i have to pay for all the prisoners and their drug habits

    June 5, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  33. k.comer

    Finally, someone has realized that this is a problem! If people have to take a drug test for a minimum wage job then why shouldn't people receiving UNEARNED money have to. It is not a situation of singling out the poor. It is following the same idea that if you want a job you must be responsible for your actions. We are fighting a war against drugs. Why not add another component or tactic for doing so.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  34. Lisa

    I think it is a great idea!! Arkansas should do the same!! The ACLU needs to get a grip, these are our tax dollars. Maybe we should drug test them (ACLU) too. This should have been set up years ago. I know so many who are on food stamps and do drugs, won't work, and sell the food stamps for drugs. WAKE UP ACLU, protect my rights as a tax payer not the dope heads living off my money!!!!!

    June 5, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  35. Ron

    I think this is an invasion of our constitutional protections against government search and seizure without cause. The thing is, the supreme court has already ruled on this issue when Michigan passed a similar law and agrees that it is illegal. This law will not be enacted. The only thing this does is further the trend to criminalize poverty in this country. The people on welfare are generally not responsible for what has happened to their financial well being and security, corporations are.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  36. MAW

    I'm currently watching this debate on CNN. I can NOT believe the guest speaker just made a point of asking why FL taxpayers should subsidize drug testing for welfare recipients when there is no evidence of a drug problem with this population? Its all just perpetuating a stereotype. Are you kidding me?
    Why did I get drug tested as an active duty military officer? Why does my husband, another military officer, and well educated, father of 2 (soon to be 3) need to be drug tested? The entire country is subsidizing that. There is less evidence of him and all military service members taking drugs! That's your argument, Sir? Really?
    If someone is receiving a paycheck from our gov't, be it local or federal, they should get drug tested. Civilian companies can do it, why not the federal gov't? I got drug tested to work as a fitness trainer for children at the YMCA. It was not an invasion of privacy. They did a backround check on me too. Its for the safety of everyone. If we are giving our tax money to someone (and I understand many folks are hit by hard times) then they should be willing to prove its not being used to subsidize their drug habit.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  37. Ron

    Let me get this right...everyone who goes to an airport to fly has to be "padded down" ...but it is wrong to drug test someone....I'm subject to random drug testing at my job.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  38. Bobby Owens

    Best law in years should be required in all states and include lawmakers.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:34 am |
  39. George R. Hurbanek II

    Excellent idea by Gov Scott! This should be done in EVERY state!!! The United States has had to make some large cuts in spending, and this could be one way of helping to reduce our deficit and/or helping to reduce the increased drug addiction that is currently going on... Nonetheless, it would be a win-win for all!!!

    Another suggestion for Gov Scott and the United States to reduce our deficit and/or to help educate our children is to base one's welfare check on their child's(ren's) school attendance. Part of receiving that check (YOUR JOB AS A PARENT) would be to get your child to school... If your child only attends 70% of the time, your check will only be 70% of the original full amount... If you work only 70% of the time, you only get paid for what you work (that's how it is in the REAL WORLD)!!! Nonetheless, we either help our deficit or help educate our future, which by the way, we are not doing so good right now...

    June 5, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  40. Brandon

    I absolutely agree with this. The hole in the argument for the ACLU is being on welfare is not a constitutional right. it is a privilege! And privileges should be taken away if abused. Its about time some state had the courage to bring this up.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  41. Anthony G

    Although it has been assessed that Gov. Scott would have no conflict of interest in the screening for the drug testing because he is "selling the company" this still influences potential buyers becasuse if passed this makes the companies worth sky rocket and puts more money into the Gov's pocket.

    June 5, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  42. Umptyscratch

    yeah foster care will cost the government more money than welfare when they start doing it as there arent enough people willing to take these kids in for the money they pay them. so they will have to build homes and hirer staff but as previously mention that would be better than kids Living with drug users.. Or what you will see are drug user/welfare recipients will just go off of welfare and take to a life of crime just to survive. A lot of things would have to be worked out .. are both parents gonna be tested? What is really gonna happen to the childen? Oviously if they fail the test they are breaking the law so would there not be criminal charges too? If they cant pass a drug test for welfare then they aint gonna pass one from employement so the crime rate will go up and we will probably need more police to deal with it .. I dont know if its a bad idea or not I just think there are lots of issues with it that will have to be worked out and we need to make sure the children dont suffer because of it .

    June 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  43. blessRheart

    This is brilliant and long overdue. It should free up some money for other things, if enough people fail the drug test. I love it.

    June 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  44. Dee

    Sounds good on the surface but what are the costs. What would we do with the people who fail? Let them try again next week? How will we prevent abuse and cheating? Can we really test every person who applies for welfare? What about false positive test results; how will we handle that? We need to have answers to all possible repercussions before we implement this.

    June 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  45. Dano

    It seems that only some of you have really read the entire article. If you search for the enitire post you will see that everyone that is tested has to pay for the test themselves. Futhermore, this is really funny and stupid at the same time. If the person or persons fail the test they can get a friend or family member to take the test for them, for the welfare of the kids.... Really, when I've been tested no one was able to take it for me....WAKE UP!!!!

    June 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  46. Roust

    Did the gov. take a drug test before or after taking office? Is he on the payroll using drugs? How about all the other elected officials. They all should be required to take a drug test!

    June 4, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  47. Don Nickerson

    This is a good start. We also need to ween the generation users off of it. Would save millions if not billions. Welfare was supposed to be a temporary assistance for families in need, not life support!

    June 4, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  48. Kim from Michigan

    I can't believe this isn't already in place! And why are foreigners able to collect medicaid and medicare? Seriously! We are going down as the dumbest in history!

    June 4, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  49. Freia

    A drug test will cost up to $75.00 according to news articles. If you are poor enough to qualify for food stamps, where are you going to get the money for the drug test? People who do find the money for the drug test will be making Gov. Scott and his cronies in the private health clinics in Florida even richer than they are now. Follow the money – who makes a buck with this new law? The plan is to make the process to get the cost of the drug test back so complicated that very few will get their money back. It is going to cost the state money to run this sham. It's cruel and degrading treatment of poor and a violation of their constitutional rights. Is the drug use rates higher for the poor than for other people living off the tax payers? I want to see drug testing for the Florida legislators, Gov. Scott and his staff.
    Embarassed to live in Florida

    June 4, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  50. D. Kelly

    I agree, but I think we should take this idea one step further. I think Gov. Rick Scott should be drug tested. I think every member of Congress should be drug tested. They accept a salary taxpayers must pay. They create laws taxpayers must follow. They fund wars and appropriate funds to all sorts of programs and activities. We can't have a drug addled brains with that kind of responsibility, handling life and death calls, can we?? Yes, drug test All of Congress. It's only fair.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  51. Cathy N.

    I am for this!! I work in the ER and I see way to much abuse of the system,being welfare or social security,being hospitalized for drug over dose,intoxication,and many other non health issues.I have seen them pass their medicade card around to the next person,they come in withno ID on them,I can go on like calling 911 for a sore throat(can't refuse them) to just was closer to the next city and couldn't get a ride so they make up a story for 911,they dont care for the bill of the rescuse because it is on the tax payers,and to say it is only a few wake up it is much more then that,I feel that once a month drug testing is needed, I also say put their picture on the medicad card and if they keep abusing the system dont send them a bill because that will end up on the same pile as the others DEDUCT it out of the check ...the have enough $ for design purses.clothes cigeretts,cell phones, nails,hair etensions, new cars,and for not putting babies Daddy on the birth because unknown (but he is right in the house with her)then NO More $ is called taking responsabilty for your actions!!! just a tax payer that is tired...

    June 3, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  52. Matt

    I beleive the cost of a drug test is cheaper than the years of financial aide being given to the users...right? I'm proud to be a Floridian today.

    June 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  53. William R. Elliott

    I spent 26 years serving my country, retired as Master Sgt. During that time, I was ask to submit to a drug test. The tax payers of this country had a right to have me tested, after all, I was pait by taxpayer money. No one who receives something for nothing should have a problem with that.

    June 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  54. Jorgenson

    This law should go into effect. People are saying it's an invasion of privacy. It's not required to get welfare it's voluntary assistance and so is the revelation of your drug abuse. Think about how people who buy drugs get the money to use them. If they put that much effort into getting money to buy drugs and stay on welfare while spending tax payer money, give them an incentive to go find a job and support their own habit. Maybe this is an incentive to deter people from abusing drugs and welfare rather than staying on government assistance. I work hard to support my drug habit and I still pay my taxes. That the way REAL americans do it.

    June 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  55. Kymberly Hibbard

    It's about friggin' time! I have been wondering when the government would stop enabling addicts by subsidizing their drug habits. All they would have to do is follow the money to the doorsteps of a major portion of recipients! I, for one, am tired of subsidizing people's drug addictions. Sincerely, Recovering Alcoholic of 21+yrs

    June 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  56. JB

    I just started a new job a few months and had to get a drug test before I could start work. I think it is about time for those receiving government checks to experience the same thing. Thank you Florida for taking the first step to get things back on track.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  57. Judy

    This is a great idea. I wish they would drug test welfare recipients in all states. I live in California. I used to be on welfare and on drugs. I have been clean for a long time now. And have been working for a long time now. I am sure if they drug tested people we would have a lot less people on welfare. Which would save the state money. They also need to keep testing them randomly the whole time they are on welfare. Companies drug test their employees. Welfare is free, why should it be easier than working for your money.

    June 3, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  58. amy

    I've been advocating this for years. If hard-working people can't get or keep a job when they test positive for drugs and/or alcohol why should we give welfare benefits to those who can't pass the same tests? Time for common sense to prevail.... taxpayers are FED UP!! I say good going FL governor – wish I could vote for you!

    June 3, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  59. Bryan

    I think anyone getting any aid from any state should have a drug test and be revoked from that aid with a failing drug test. Drug dealers should be able to support themselves and families, they seem to have a profitable business even though illegal. Welfare belongs to the people that need it. Maybe we should give physicals, too, and those that are fit enough to work be limited on their aid from the state. Lazy shouldn't make you eligible for welfare.

    June 3, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  60. Johhny

    If this is the way Tea Party and Repuclicans will act if they get in control, Ignoring the "Constitution" and "Supreme Court Rulings", this Conservative Moderate just turned to Obabma for my next Vote !!!
    I value my "Freedom" above All...

    Flagged Huh, The Truth Hurts sometimes but what happened to "live and let live"? The founders would be Ashamed of your Intolerance of others who are only doing things in the PRIVACY of there own Home, these tests go back Months!!! Not just taking drugs On the Spot!

    June 3, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  61. Jim

    If this is the way Tea Party and Repuclicans will act if they get in control, Ignoring the "Constitution" and "Supreme Court Rulings", this Conservative Moderate just turned to Obabma for my next Vote !!!
    I value my "Freedom" above All...

    June 3, 2011 at 5:57 am |
  62. Becca

    How much do you think that the government is spending on each individual on welfare? Full scale drug tests are less than $30 at WallyWorld, i am sure the government could get it at less than 1/2 of that price. I only know this cuz I randomly test my teenager for pot $13 for just that test. I wonder how many welfare recipeints would clean up if they were threated with losing there housing or food assistance? I think drug testing it is a win win situation.

    June 3, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  63. Kenneth

    Just last week I had to take a random drug test to keep my job. For those of you crying that this is unconstitutional, what about our constitutional rights? Should we have to be tested to continue to get paid? Several have already said it: If you want to get paid, take the test.

    I am not worried about passing, I want to keep my job. I work at my job so I can bring home a paycheck and they take money out of my check that is filtered down to welfare recipients. I don't think that the majority of those on welfare are also on drugs. I honestly believe the opposite to be true.

    I think FL has the right idea. And for those democrats whining about it. Where were you when it passed the legislature of the state? My high school civics class taught that before a governor can sign a legislation, it has to pass through the legislature. Unless FL has a monarchy rule that allows the governor to pass laws by himself.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  64. a. jennings

    last time i checked, public assistance was for the helpless who for medical or other reasons are unable to help themselves. who is more helpless than a drug addicted poor person? these are not "drug addicts" they are HUMAN BEINGS. if we diagnose someone as a drug addict do not we as a modern society then owe them a duty to offer help with the addiction as well? last time i checked, drug addiction is a medical condition. albiet self inflicted. smokers self inflict but we treat them. if we are going to drug test without constitutional protections of probable cause and a warrant lets drug test randomly all public servents and officials then perhaps we can discover some of the evil motivations for this type of legislation. dont they owe US a duty to prove they are not on drugs illegal or prescribed (and abused) as well?

    June 2, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
  65. tim guerra

    we ought to test ALL police, judges and attorneys as well

    June 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  66. sam

    If you do drugs, you cant get a job, but you can still get welfare. So why get a job?

    June 2, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  67. jody hossle

    I think it is an excellent idea that is long overdue. I think our entitlement programs, although very necessary, are greatly abused. My daughter is starting a new job and had to be drug tested. She didn't complain that it was an invasion of her privacy – she doesn't do drugs so she has nothing to worry about. I would take it one step farther and add that if a woman receives welfare she needs to be required to take a birth control shot, like my daughters use to prevent pregnancy, so that she doesn't add more children to a home that cannot support the child or children already in the family. When she is able to support herself and her children the choice would be hers. I am not against helping people in need at all, having said that, people need to take responsibility for their actions. There is nothing wrong with needing help through tough times but the taxpayers are being taken advantage of and cannot afford it any longer.

    June 2, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  68. Logic

    You are all ignorant sheep. This is the worst idea ever. The government has no right to do anything like this to citizens no matter what they are receiving.
    A private business drug testing employees is one thing. They can choose to do it or not. But when the government does it it is no longer America. you are being fooled into giving away more and more of your rights. They play on your stupidity and prejudices to slowly change this country into Iran or China.
    It's unbelievable to think that they misuse the tax money, then pretend that they are broke, then use that as an excuse to start drug testing the citizens.
    What will be next?

    June 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  69. Kate

    i think its a great idea!!! they need to do this in NY too

    June 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  70. virginia booth

    Absolutely great idea, that welfare recipients be drug tested when they apply for welfare, just like working people do when they apply for a job, and randomly thereafter. Think of the lives that could be changed for the better, the children that wouldn't be exposed to doping parents, then maybe school would seem a little more important also. I think that would solve a multitude of problems. Good for you, Governor.

    June 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  71. Nancy

    ABSOLUTELY! I work in a hospital ER and see so many people on welfare, Medicaid, etc. that come in for ridiculous things like a toothache, cold name it. Some come in by ambulance. Who's paying for it? The poor schmucks working!! These people get their RX drugs, the State pays for them and then they go out and sell them. I don't drive a new car, have a lavish lifestyle or receive government assistance. Something is wrong with our entire system. No wonder the country is broke!

    June 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  72. patrica

    Its about time, I sure hope all of my neighbors get tested cause there getting welfare and food stamps and there children are doing without!! beginnin of the month all my neighbors hit me up by wanting to sell there free benefits and I tell them I already paid for them!!!!!!!!!!! they just look at me stunned. I'm just sick up it. All I can say Rick Scott is AWESOME!!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  73. Hofnar

    Keith (with regard to "where'd our constitution go?") it would be unconstitutional if the drug tests were not associated with a benefits program. If you apply for government assistance, you have agreed to comply with the spirit of the program. You don't want to be tested? Don't step up to the pay window. I'm not sure when people started assuming that they have the RIGHT to get money from others without any strings attached. Take a closer look at the constitution. You have the right to pursue happiness. It's not the government's job (or the taxpayers' responsibility) to give it to you.

    June 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  74. Robert

    Agree with Gov. Scott position. It is not a violation of their right to privacy. If they don't want to get tested, they don't have to, but they also don't get any money. If I need to be tested because I get a tax benefit, no big deal, I don't have anything to hide. Do you?

    June 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  75. Eva

    Excellent plan, the welfare system is out of control, children abused, killed; drugs and drinking makes for a poor parenting example!

    June 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  76. La Franz

    Question –

    If a child's parent or parents happen to not test squeaky clean, does that mean that the child or children would be likely to become a ward of the state since the recipient will become unable to financially care for his or her child or children? If this is the case then wouldn't it cost the state more per child in court, temp housing and foster care fees vs welfare costs? Plus – what do we do with the denied recipients? Would it become more cost and budgetary issues for the state to deal with it's rise in the homeless population?

    Just asking.

    June 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  77. colleen

    If a person wants to destroy themselves with drugs let them....just not on my dime

    June 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  78. Terry

    Bring it on in all states, way to make up the deficit we owe..

    June 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  79. fred

    sure it makes sense, especially since the Governor owns a company that specializes in provide health care related services such as....wait for it.....DRUG TESTING.
    good business move by the governor. he could care less if people use drugs, this is a business (money) move.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  80. Deana Hill

    Thank you Governor. It is way overdue. So many children and parents are suffering because of serious drug addictions and nothing is being done to help the families. It is about time. bills go unpaid, dwelling places lost. Food taken from the children. The money is being given to the drug dealers/supplier with no remorse. children are hurting because of this epodimic of high drug use. mother/fathers, on and off welfare are overindulging in heavy drug use at the cost of their children, their families and the welfare system. Please help them. So many of the children cannot speak out and take a stand for themselves. It is about time that someone like this Governor has taken a stand. Maybe this will awaken the minds of these people and they will seek help. But the money should not just be given to another person. It should be a close relative who is trustworthy, who will take the responsibility to make sure that the money is used for the children and the needs of the home. The relative should also take the drug test and have a background check to make sure that they do no have a serious police record. Grandparents and children of the addicted are crying out. Help. Thank you. This is a great, right stand. Not only should welfare recipeints take the drug test, but the welfare department as well. It should be a weekly standard drug test. Drug dealers are destroying families, children and homes and getting richer by causing suffering. They are committing a major crime and there needs to be a law to end this now.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  81. Brittney

    Larry Peterson – so you're saying that you believe all the CEO's that received bail outs are all on drugs? Is it a big drug ring? Did they spend their money on drugs and thats the reason they required a bailout? Doubtful. Yes I agree MANY companies misuse funds, however, I find this completely irrelevant to "drug testing medicaid receipients". No one is saying to drug test medicaid recipients because they are POOR or RICH, it just makes sense. People on drugs, unless they need the services for rehabilitation reasons, shouldn't collect welfare. If you have 5 kids and you base your welfare on how youre going to get high that week, then you shouldn't get the money. I work my butt off EVERYDAY and then I see people in line at grocery stores with their fake nails and louis vuitton purses (real ones at that) buying groceries with food stamps. Tell me that's ok? I work hard for my money and there are thousands of people on welfare that beat the system everyday. Leave your bubble and take a look around.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  82. matt

    This law is targeted at the poor or ones down on their luck.
    Question: Why didn't we drug test every member of every bank that got gov. bail outs, every auto worker at GM and Dodge.
    Why b/c there would have been more ppl out of work and the cost of the drug testing would have been more than the bail outs. This is too costly and taking way the 4th amendment from the poor.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  83. Brittney

    The only people that would disagree with this are people who are clearly using drugs or enjoy the recreational drug use. Seriously? You think this is an INVASION OF PRIVACY? You shouldn't be using drugs because they are ILLEGAL, in privacy OR anywhere else! This is not focusing on POOR people, its focusing on people who are "lifers" in the welfare system and NO ONE forces them to actually earn money on their own. WE ALL UNDERSTAND that everyone may need some help now and then, however, the people who REALLY NEED the help, can't get it because the system is abused. It's easiest to get welfare benefits if you are just getting out of jail/prison or if youre a current user of drugs/past user than it is if you actually NEED it. Tons of people have lost jobs due to the economy and outsourcing, but those people don't qualify because they have too much in savings. Get real.

    June 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  84. David in FL

    This was tried in Michigan and struck down as an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment (Marchwinski v. Howard).

    Constitutionality aside it is a bad idea. It has been studied by many states and it is not economically effective. In Michigan it was found that less than 10% tested positive. Under the Florida law the state has to reimburse those who pass the drug test ($10-$25). 4,400 drug tests per month, according to the FL Department of Children & Families – 4,400 x .90 = 3960 x $20 = $79,200.00 possible cost per month.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  85. Riley

    P.S. By the way, the folks who oppose this have something to loose! They are the ones on drugs and fear loosing the check!

    June 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  86. Kathy

    This incentive for welfare is excellent! Kids with failing parents are identified, and it does NOT violate the right to privacy. EVERY American has the right NOT to apply for welfare, there is your privacy. My job drug tests, why shouldn't someone who wants government handouts?

    June 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  87. Riley

    Kudos to the Governor of Florida!!! This should be Nationwide for sure!
    As a person who deals with criminals on a daily basis , I have never seen so many people who are on Government Assistance and ASSISTANCE is the key word.
    Assistance is meant to be temporary!

    I deal with people who commit crime after crime and they and their WHOLE FAMILY are on disability, social security, welfare and whatever assistance they can get from the Government and have never worked a day in their lives!
    I've seen these people , they are not disabled. Since when can so many people in the SAME family NOT BE ABLE TO WORK? This is a WAY OF LIFE and the Government ALLOWS IT! Its called ENABLING!

    I can also tell you from experience that MOST of them ARE ON DRUGS. I hope this spreads like wildfire through other states and applies to more than just welfare and to all who receive a government check! THUMBS UP GOVERNOR!

    June 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  88. Rick

    They should be denied even if the smoke cigs or drink alcohol. Welfare is a bad habit like any addiction

    June 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  89. Rachel Bockover

    First of all buying drugs with welfare is not all that easy. If you are strung out there are other easier ways to get drugs than trading food that you buy with your food stamp card. Also a mother may have a drug problem or may be an ocasional user. Does that mean her children dont deserve to be fed and get medical care? The botton line though is that drug testing is a violation of privacy for any one. I would like to remind you that your taxes are paying to keep a descent world. They are paying for a back up system for YOU,and the percentage of taxes that go to well fare is very small. You never know when you might find yourself in that possition of needing a little help.There is a reason these programs exist. Study the great depression and compair it to the current one. Any way no one in their right mind would ever choose to be dependent on well fare. It is not a walk in the park or easy money, and it is not really enough to live on.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  90. MeganM

    Honestly, this should be a no brainer. I think ANYONE that gets any kind of government funding should have to do this. Invasion of privacy? You've GOT to be kidding. If the government is supplying you with financal aid, they have every right to ask you to do this. If anyone has a problem taking a drug test, then they don't deserve the aid. I pay Social Security Taxes and you know what would be great? Actually getting to benefit from it. Social Security would be around a lot longer if we weren't paying it out to people with drug issues.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  91. Deb

    I agree totally with the Gov. If you are given a wellfare check in lieu of a paycheck you should be drug tested. I was drug tested prior to being hired so as I able to work for a paycheck. So if you want to sit home and collect a welfare check, then you to should be drug tested. Nothing free in life comes without strings, maybe this will be a good incentive for these recepients to find a j – o – b!!!!!!

    June 2, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  92. James

    Are you guys saying that people use SNAP benefits to buy drugs. As per my knowledge, you can only buy food with this. What do you guys know anything about affirmative action? I'm sure Rick Scott signed his business over to his wife because she is considerated a minority? Im sure that helps keep money in his pocket. If you are worried about tax dollars then maybe we should not be fighting in Iraq

    June 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  93. j varga

    I had to take a drug test before I was hired and I am subject to random drug testing to keep my job, why wouldn't it make sense to drug test anyone getting Welfare money?
    I am all for it!!

    June 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  94. Barbara

    I think all States should pass a law like it.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  95. renee

    I completely agree with this law. I realize drug testing is expensive, but I believe in the long run I would rather my tax money going to pay for drug testing and rehab than to buy more drugs. Drug users breed more drug users a never ending cycle of drug users on welfare is going to be more costly between paying for their children, their funerals, and their healthcare.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  96. June Hawkins

    If the government will get access to my health records because of Obamacare, and I am going to have bureaucrats vote on whether I get a hip replacement or a pacemaker then this is part of the same "paying your fair share". If my taxes go to pay for it, then I dont want to support drug users. I am definitely for this.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  97. KP

    @ Keith:

    REALLY? How is it not a violation of taxpayer rights that we are forced to provide assistance to programs like TANF? I want to help my fellow citizen on hard times, as a child we were on welfare for a few months when my brother was in the hospital and my mother couldn't work. HOWEVER; welfare should not be a lifestyle choice, rather, a safety net for those in desperate times.

    A person should only be eligible for welfare if they have exhausted every outlet and are truly in a time of extreme desperation. That being said, if someone tests positive for drugs they are either, a.) spending taxpayer money on drugs or, b.) in the event the drugs were provided for free, welfare drug recipients are clearly not doing everything in their power to improve their life situation because they are high on drugs. End of story.

    Nearly all companies I have worked for require drug tests; and that is for people who are working to get paid, not getting something for free. If you want free money, don't complain. Get over it and get to work.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  98. Cody

    No! there is no authority in the US Constitution for Congress to make drugs illegal. Prohibition of alcohol took an amendment, why didn't prohibition of drugs? Welfare is also not authorized by the Constitution and should be eliminated. However, Florida can do whatever it wishes with its tax dollars. We could solve all of our problems if we just followed the US Constitution.

    June 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  99. JES

    There are some good points here, but it this really going to work. The individual will just get clean to take the drug test and then they'll start using the drugs again. This is going to hurt the children too. But, from my experience working in the welfare dept the parents that are using drugs are probably not using the public assistance benefits for their children anyway. It's really sad. And sending these children to foster care is not going to help anything when we don't have enough foster care families as it is. I would hope that this law would be an incentive for people to get off drugs, but I doubt it will be.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  100. Kevin

    Although I understand that the goverment trying to save money but it always seem to start on the less forginate. Goverment offical should be held for ramdon drug test as well. If you lye on unemployment you could face felony charges people who work for goverment never face any crimal charges. It was a story about police officers getting paid for hours they did not work what hapen to them nothing. If you put restrictions on the poor place it on the rich and goverment workers as well.

    June 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
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