Florida's New Drug-Testing Law: Other States To Follow?

Rick Scott drug testing FloridaFlorida has become the first state in the nation to adopt a law mandating random drug screenings for state workers. The unprecedented move may result in similar efforts among lawmakers in other states, setting the stage for battles with labor unions and others opposed to drug testing by the government.

The new law, which exempts elected officials from testing, was quietly signed by Gov. Rick Scott (pictured at left) on Monday after normal working hours. It is sure to result in a legal challenge. The American Civil Liberties Union released a statement this morning in which it described the law as being in "clear defiance of constitutional principles."

Though drug testing among private employers is routine, such practices when conducted by government may run afoul of the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, some legal experts contend.

Known as the Drug Free Workplace Act, the statute allows -- but doesn't require -- state agencies to randomly test up to 10 percent of their workers every three months for illegal drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol. Failing a single test could result in dismissal.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, state workers in Florida aren't known to have greater substance-abuse problems than those elsewhere. Rather, the law appears to be part of a nationwide effort to hold accountable those who receive taxpayer funds -- whether they are public-sector workers, welfare recipients or those collecting unemployment benefits.

No state yet requires drug testing of those collecting unemployment benefits, but four states -- Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma and Utah -- are considering such laws for the jobless, the Monitor notes.

A similar drug-testing policy aimed at Florida's state workers, which Gov. Scott signed into law by executive order a year ago, is now being scrutinized by a federal court, The Miami Herald reports.

Last month, the judge reviewing the case questioned the constitutionality of the policy, saying she had "trouble understanding the circumstances under which the executive order would be valid."

Exempting elected officials from Florida's new law led Herald columnist Carl Hiassen to characterize lawmakers' efforts as hypocritical.

"So now the clerk down at the DMV gets to pee in a cup," he writes, "but not the knuckleheads in [the state capital] who control $70 billion in public funds."

Hiassen adds, "Who do you think is more dangerous to the future of Florida?"

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Federal employees undergo routine random drug testing with no notice. We know to keep our jobs we need to be clean. I don't quite understand all the flap. taking illegal drugs is against the law that's why they are called illegal. If anyone is hired into a job where they know up-front taking illegal drugs might be grounds for firing and they might be tested for these same drugs well sorry, I have no sympathy.

January 15 2013 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If the American People have to take a durg tesr to get a jobs. Then The Fed Government need to test their employee as well as them self. Constitution is want good for one is good for other. They are pay from the taxpayer money that pay taxes. That just like the laws they pass only for the American People not them. They are no different then the American People.

April 10 2012 at 4:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why are electecd officials exempt from drug testing? hell, we put them in office we should have the right to insist that they too be drug tested.

April 10 2012 at 2:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Freie

i think all the states should do random drug testing for illegal drugs with people on any government assistance from food stamps to disability.

April 10 2012 at 9:24 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

YOU CAN THANK YOUR BOY OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!... If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 yrs. hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot. Two Americans just got eight years for ACCIDENTALLY crossing the Iranian border. If you cross the U.S. border illegally you get a job, a drivers license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing & child benefits, a FREE education, & a tax free business for 7 yrs...Ain't that some ****???..........No wonder we are a country in debt.

March 22 2012 at 1:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

When you drive into FL there are 'Welcome to Florida" signs as your cross the State Line. For some reason Scott has been our only Governor who felt the need to put signage under this Welcome sign stating "Rick Scott - Governor" . This is FL and we are very tolerant of drug testing. You get tested for so many jobs: Defense plant Executive, bus driver, teachers, to sale timeshare properties, to drive a beer delivery truck, etc,........Mostly for Insurance purposes. Some are one time testing for employment and other job have 'testing at random or will".

March 21 2012 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

furthermore, drug testing has no correlation to job performance.

March 21 2012 at 3:09 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to undrgrndgirl's comment

Probably because you are too stoned to realize it.

March 21 2012 at 4:05 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

drug tests have nothing to do with impaired employees; they have everything to do with social control.

March 21 2012 at 3:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Florida Resident

The idea that state employees have to be drug tested but the Governorm his staff, legislators, and judges do not have to be drug tested is insulting. Rick Scott is Evil and he should be drug tested weekly. Please vote him out of office.

March 21 2012 at 2:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You noticed didn't you that the ones who wrote the law and passed it made sure they were not to be included and held accountable!! Just the people who depend on the positions they hold to support their families. The rich and powerful who more than likely shove coke up their nose or abuse pain(opiates) or mental health meds(XANAX), or even speed to help them maintain their exhausting schedules have once again shown their true intentions....To be treated as if they are above it all!!... And to do this most incredibly in of all places..FLORIDA, the import/export drug capitol of the U>S>A>>I don't believe I have ever seen a more blatent example of power..EVER

March 21 2012 at 2:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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