Welfare drug testing law ineffective, illegal
Michael De Dora
Posted on October 25, 2011
Back in June, I was critical of a new Florida law to require adults applying for cash welfare assistance (i.e., not food stamps and housing assistance) to undergo drug screenings. At the time, Florida Gov. Rick Scott defended the rule by arguing that:
“It’s not right for taxpayer money to be paying for somebody’s drug addiction. … On top of that, this is going to increase personal responsibility, personal accountability. We shouldn’t be subsidizing people’s addiction.”
In my essay, I outlined at least two major problems with the new law. First, I didn’t think the law would be effective. Second, I didn’t think it would survive a constitutional challenge.
So far, I am correct on both accounts.
Recently released data reveals that only two percent of the state’s welfare recipients have failed the drug test. This means the program might end up costing the state, because while welfare recipients are required to pay for the test, the state has to reimburse those who pass.
And just yesterday, a federal judge temporary blocked the law, saying that it likely violates the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure.
Two for two. Not a bad day at the plate.