Florida Governor Trying To Bring Back Mandatory Welfare Testing

By McCarton Ackerman 05/30/14

If at first you don't succeed, ignore court decisions, waste taxpayer money, and shove it down people's throats anyway.

crazy rick scott.jpg
Determined, or just nuts? Photo via

Florida Gov. Rick Scott continues to dig himself into a deeper hole with his unrelenting desire for state workers and welfare applicants to be tested for drugs. Not only did more than 97 percent of those who were tested come back with negative results, but the unpopular, unconstitutional program has cost Florida taxpayers nearly $400,000 in his attempts to keep it alive in the courts.

The state worker and welfare recipient drug testing program was struck down last December. But the Scott administration appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which denied hearing new arguments last month, and revealed that he has spent $381,654 appealing the rulings. Shalini Goel Agarwal, staff attorney for the ACLU in Florida, called Scott’s efforts “a costly and embarrassing boondoggle for Floridians.”

But despite the outcry, Scott’s spokesman John Tupps said the governor “will continue to fight for Florida taxpayers, who deserve a drug-free state workforce, and for Florida’s children, who deserve to live in drug-free homes.”

In April 2012, findings showed that only 108 out of 4,086 welfare applicants (2.6 percent) who were drug tested showed positive results. And because the state was required to reimburse the cost of testing for those who recorded negative results, the welfare testing program actually cost the state $45,780. His latest welfare testing appeal is still pending in court.

Numerous other states including Minnesota have similar programs in place, while Kansas will begin their testing program in July. Other states are also considering adopting similar measures, but are opting for suspicion-based testing programs rather than requiring it of everyone who asks for federal assistance.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.