Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law on Tuesday that would require welfare recipients to take a drug-screening test to be considered for benefits.
According to NYDailyNews.com, under this new law, adults applying for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program who fail the drug test will become ineligible for a year, or until they receive treatment.
If an applicant fails a second drug test, they will be banned from receiving funds for three years.
If a child’s parent fails the drug test, the Department of Children and Families will be able to designate a person to receive funds on behalf of the children, who also have to pass a drug test.
Governor Scott signed the law into effect on July 1.
The new law has raised debate between Republicans and Democrats. Several points have been made about whether the law will benefit Florida residents in the end.
Some Republicans see benefits in the new law. Governor Rick Scott defended the law on CNN, stating, “It’s not right for taxpayer money to be paying for somebody’s drug addiction.” He also believes his new law will hold TANF applicants accountable to do what is right to benefit their families.
|Donald Baillargeon applauds new law in Florida requiring welfare applicants to take drug test, video courtesy MoneyTV.net|
Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, disagrees with Governor Scott. According to a CNN article, Simon believes Governor Scott is “giving ugly legitimacy to an unfortunate stereotype…that all welfare recipients are a bunch of drug abusers.”
ACLU is expected to challenge the law, since they have already filed a lawsuit fighting a similar law enacted by Scott. This law requires all state employees to submit to a drug test.
ACLU and Florida Legal Services have said they will decide soon if they will file a lawsuit against this law as well, under the grounds that blanket drug tests are unconstitutional.
Blanket drug tests have been considered unconstitutional in the past, resulting in states like Michigan overturn of the law after only 5 weeks of being passed.
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|ACLU representative, Howard Simon, argues that blanket testing is unconstitutional, Video courtesy of MSNBC.com|