Florida Tea Party Gov. Is About to Start Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

The latest GOP attack on the poor
Wingnuts • Views: 103,040

Florida’s Tea Party governor Rick Scott is going to do his part to advance “limited government” by making it mandatory for welfare recipients to be drug tested.

The right wing has been pushing for this disgusting law all over America for years; it looks like Florida will be the first state to actually do it.

Scott’s bill will take it one step further, too. Just to really stick it to the poor, Scott will require welfare recipients to pay for their own drug tests.

“It’s fair to taxpayers,” Scott said after the vote. “They’re paying the bill. And they’re often drug screened for their jobs. On top of that, it’s good for families. It creates another reason why people will think again before using drugs, which as you know is just a significant issue in our state.”

Scott already signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of state workers.

HB 353 requires all adult recipients of federal cash benefits — the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program — to pay for the tests, which are typically around $35. The screen would be for all controlled substances and applicants would have to disclose any legal prescriptions.

Recipients who test positive for drugs would lose their benefits for a year. If they fail a second time, they lose the benefits for three years. Parents who test positive must designate another adult to receive benefits on behalf of their children.

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46 comments

1 ProMayaLiberal  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:47:27am

This is the most evil thing I've heard of in a very long time. Rick Scott doesn't have a soul.

2 Killgore Trout  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:51:46am
Scott’s bill will take it one step further, too. Just to really stick it to the poor, Scott will require welfare recipients to pay for their own drug tests.


What a dick.

3 qubit2020  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:54:04am

Don't forget, this is the guy who presided over HCA for the biggest Medicare fraud penalty ever assessed against a company. Yet, he was still voted in...

4 qubit2020  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:55:18am

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.

5 Political Atheist  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:56:44am

This is outrageous but so are policies long established-It really is only one tiny step beyond drug testing employees that do not operate dangerous equipment etc., etc. Why no outrage then? Is it really critical that guy that shuffles paper and takes phone orders be drug free?

Blockbuster clerks must not smoke a joint on a weekend or else?

And BTW a medical marij. card is no cover against such policies.

6 elizajane  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:57:49am

Isn't this also the guy who still owns a chain of walk-in clinics that perform the drug testing? Well, technically his wife now owns them, so no conflict of interest there, no sir.

Apart from the obvious corruption, so standard a part of Scott's M.O., this is just another act of humiliation for poor people. Anybody who thinks that welfare recipients can support a drug habit on their monthly checks is, well, probably not a welfare recipient himself.

7 engineer cat  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:57:55am

Start Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

good, then the management of the oil companies and giant agro businesses that get billions of dollars from the government will finally be tested to find out if their anti-social behavior is due to drug use

8 ProMayaLiberal  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:58:11am

re: #3 qubit2020

Florida is probably having a bit of buyer's remorse.

9 qubit2020  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:58:33am

Until it was called out by a local newspaper, Rick Scott's medical testing company was going to reap a windfall from this policy.

10 Tumulus11  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:01:29am

. Mr. Scott also tests for weight, ethnicity, accent, age, race and gender.

'Yet even before it was fully operational Solantic executives were accused of a pattern of serial discrimination in hiring, a pattern supposedly initiated by Scott himself. The suits alleged a standing policy not to hire overweight women, Hispanics with strong accents, older women and black women.'
// Salon.com - Oct 1, 2009,

11 allegro  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:03:43am

re: #10 Tumulus11

Mr. Scott also tests for weight, ethnicity, accent, age, race and gender.

This story just gets better and better... ///

I can't think of an expletive or name nasty enough for this guy.

12 qubit2020  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:05:39am

"can't think of an expletive or name nasty enough for this guy."
One local columnist refers to him as Governor Voldemort...

13 Kid A  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:08:09am

re: #11 allegro

This story just gets better and better... ///

I can't think of an expletive or name nasty enough for this guy.

I can. Motherfucker fits perfectly I think.

14 Kid A  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:11:31am

Welfare queens!!! Driving around in Cadillacs!!!

15 HappyWarrior  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:12:25am

Scott is a perfect example of why you should never vote for one party because you're upset with another.

16 Obdicut  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:16:55am

re: #5 Rightwingconspirator

These policies are not long-established. Many companies do drug test-- many more do not. I have never had to take a drug test in my professional life.

There is no competitor for TANF. There is nowhere else that people can go to if they, god forbid, smoked a joint at some point.

Finally, there is no benefit to this measure at all. Those broke people are still going to be broke, and still have no other options. This measure is likely to increase crime, and that's about it.

Oh, and since TANF goes to families, what are they doing about the children?

17 prairiefire  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:18:09am

Facebook page Make Drug Testing Mandatory has 1,486,922 "likes"

18 jaunte  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:19:34am

re: #16 Obdicut

The children will be punished for having druggie parents. TeaJustice in action.

19 Fat Bastard Vegetarian  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:20:54am

re: #16 Obdicut

I was concerned because they were going to check my driving record...

Wasn't the least bit nervous about the criminal background checks or the drug test.

Worked with a guy for years who was involved in a minor fender bender while at work. Had to take a drug test, failed (pot) was fired immediately.

20 allegro  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:21:49am

re: #15 HappyWarrior

Scott is a perfect example of why you should never vote for one particular party (*cough* Republican *cough*) because you're upset with another it's gone over the rainbow evil, mean, rude, nasty, and fucking nuts.

There.

21 filetandrelease  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:22:34am

Let's see, guys on welfare but buys crack, should we subsidize his habit? No voters remorse here.

22 Obdicut  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:23:47am

re: #21 filetandrelease

What should you do about the crack user, please? What is your actually effective solution?

23 HappyWarrior  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:26:36am

re: #20 allegro

There.

You get no argument from me there. I've voted for Republicans in the past but that party has been going in the wrong direction ever since Obama got elected.

24 Political Atheist  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:29:21am

re: #16 Obdicut

When California banned the pre employment polygraph, many, many companies simply switched to drug testing. This is a slippery slope-When drug testing was encouraged (OSHA, insurance companies) the topic above became the next stop on the slippery slope.

25 Obdicut  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:31:46am

re: #24 Rightwingconspirator

Slippery slope is the name of something that is as often a fallacy as it is a truth.

Again, the biggest difference here is that there is no option for these people. They are on the lowest rung, the weakest position. This is all they have.

What you seem to be saying is that as long as any drug testing as allowed, all drug testing is the same. I don't agree.

26 Romantic Heretic  Sun, May 8, 2011 11:50:00am

Minimal government, indeed.

Gov. Scott? You are such a fucking tool.

27 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Sun, May 8, 2011 12:02:34pm

I don't mind this, so long as the Florida legislature is subjected to the same tests.

28 celticdragon  Sun, May 8, 2011 12:38:00pm

re: #14 Kid A

Young bucks buying t-bone steaks...

Yep.
/

29 celticdragon  Sun, May 8, 2011 12:44:02pm

re: #21 filetandrelease

Let's see, guys on welfare but buys crack, should we subsidize his habit? No voters remorse here.

Do you have any fucking idea how hard it is to even qualify for welfare aid? In most cases, you have to have a temporary need that you can prove is temporary! If your "crisis" appears to be open ended, you won;t get help!

Been there after my workplace injury and dispute with my employer forced me onto welfare to put food on the table.

It was humiliating and soul killing beyond belief. You have to provide documentation of all your bills and what happened with your employment. You have to bring your bank statements. I was near tears by the time it was done. I had been a high paid aircraft mechanic working on multi-million dollar jetliners and now I was begging for food stamps.

Personally, I was ready to smoke a damn joint after I got through with the process.

30 moderatelyradicalliberal  Sun, May 8, 2011 12:49:13pm

re: #15 HappyWarrior

Scott is a perfect example of why you should never vote for one party because you're upset with another.

Yeah. I have the feeling that even if all of this had been widely known he still would have been elected governor. My best friend lives in Florida and she says she has a "Don't blame me, I voted for Alex Sink" bumper sticker on her car.

31 unwashed masses  Sun, May 8, 2011 1:22:32pm

re: #27 negativ

everyone who works for government must take drug tests on regular basis....especially if they have a gun or a badge

32 unwashed masses  Sun, May 8, 2011 1:29:03pm

re: #9 qubit2020

Until it was called out by a local newspaper, Rick Scott's medical testing company was going to reap a windfall from this policy.

His company Solantic, which he handed over ownership to his wife on the eve of his inauguration to eliminate conflict of interest, is in the lead for awarding the no-bid contract. Solantic's specialities include drug testing, managed care in line with the new HMO based medicare the criminal Rick Scott is pushing, and required pre-abortion ultrasounds.

33 unwashed masses  Sun, May 8, 2011 1:39:50pm

I'd be willing to bet that it'd be cheaper to BUY the drugs FOR the welfare recipients than pay for the urinalysis and bureaucracies. Remember, government is the only ones to lose money running a whore house (Nevada) and a monopoly gambling institution (New Yawk's OTB).

34 SidewaysQuark  Sun, May 8, 2011 2:14:56pm

Why not require drug tests for people who use other government services, too? You know, like driving on interstate highways, Medicare, postal delivery, etc. etc.

[Do I need a sarcasm disclaimer?]

35 unwashed masses  Sun, May 8, 2011 2:40:25pm

Invalid comparison dumb ass, taxpayers pay for those.

36 wheat-dogghazi  Sun, May 8, 2011 4:12:11pm

Is this law even remotely constitutional? It seems like it steps on federal law (like Arizona's SB 1070) and the equal protection clause.

Aside from that, I'm glad that I am not now nor I have ever been a member of Florida's population. Scott makes my former residence of Kentucky look downright progressive.

37 Amory Blaine  Sun, May 8, 2011 4:17:39pm

It's good to see the TeaBaggers are tackling the jobs issue like they said they were....

38 RogueOne  Sun, May 8, 2011 5:04:20pm

re: #24 Rightwingconspirator

When California banned the pre employment polygraph, many, many companies simply switched to drug testing. This is a slippery slope-When drug testing was encouraged (OSHA, insurance companies) the topic above became the next stop on the slippery slope.

If you get hurt on a work site the insurance company is going to insist you get a drug test. I understand that but forcing the poor to give up their 4th amendment rights in order to qualify for a state program a horrible idea.

39 Flavia  Sun, May 8, 2011 10:29:51pm
re: #29 celticdragon

Been there after my workplace injury and dispute with my employer forced me onto welfare to put food on the table.

(I cut out all the stuff that I found even more painful to read)

I am so sorry that this had to happen to you - I only hope that things have gotten better for you.

40 SidewaysQuark  Mon, May 9, 2011 10:21:17am

re: #35 unwashed masses

Invalid comparison dumb ass, taxpayers pay for those.

Last I checked, taxpayers paid for welfare.

The DERP is strong with this one.

41 krypto  Mon, May 9, 2011 11:36:29am

Why aren't there mandatory drug tests and mandatory psychiatric tests for governors of Florida?

42 Jack Burton  Mon, May 9, 2011 12:02:01pm

re: #17 prairiefire

Facebook page Make Drug Testing Mandatory has 1,486,922 "likes"

This shouldn't be surprising. I have friends at both extremes of the political spectrum from commies to teabaggers, and a majority of them, including the lefties (some of which I know smoke pot themselves), have expressed support for this.

I don't necessarily agree with it myself, but I think to label this idea as some far-right kook nonsense is ignoring the reality.

Making them pay for the test themselves though is completely bullshit.

43 ThomasLite  Mon, May 9, 2011 7:11:27pm

re: #42 ArchangelMichael
I don't necessarily agree with it myself, but I think to label this idea as some far-right kook nonsense is ignoring the reality.

Making them pay for the test themselves though is completely bullshit.

I agree. a good point can be made for the test itself; but regardless how you feel about the test itself, letting an (already, by that time, impoverished/strapped for cash) welfare applicant pay for that too is just mean. it's childish, it's pandering to a base that seems to hate anything welfare-related, and so forth.
we don't let a someone pay for a fraud investigation if he's suspected of fraudulently receiving welfare either.
government has a right, even a duty, to make sure tax dollars are spent effectively. this means they are allowed to investigate stuff like that.
and they do, all around the globe. on their own dime.

a point can be made, however, that if one fails, one would have to pay the $35 (you know if you're on drugs; you know that, apparently, that excludes you from welfare elegibility, yet you did file for welfare. then, and only if this was clear from the beginning, should that cost be passed on to the testee.)
same as with tax fraud here in the Netherlands for example: you get convicted of wilful fraud, there's a hefty fine, often related to the cost of the investigation.
price you pay for defrauding society, really. neener, neener, and so forth ;)

making people pay for the results/costs of their own unlawful acts is AOK.
it's just a shame people like this can't distinguish between the fraudulent welfare recipients and those who act in good faith, and keep wanting to punish the latter as well.

what I do wonder about though: these seem (according to the article) to be *federal* cash benefits. isn't a state legislature supposed to keep it's grubby mitts off of federal spending? or am I just missing something here?

now as to the test itself: welfare is basically government helping those who've temporarily fallen down to get back on their feet, helping them while they make an honest effort to get an income of their own again.

as said, many jobs require drug testing. aside from that, being addicted to drugs, or otherwise taking them regularly, generally can make one quite less eligible for a job anywhere (let's face it, no employer likes druggies. even if they're perfectly functioning good citizens, it's just the case).

Now I'm all for legalizing (at least) pot. I'm also for people being allowed to generally do anything the damn well want, whenever they want, as long as they don't make others miserable etc.
however, I do understand that certain standards can be expected of someone 'on the dole'; the one who pays the bills, get's some say in matters, after all.
someone who turns up to interviews unshaven, reeking of alcohol, obviously happy enough to live on welfare (not so much an issue in the US situation I take; back here certain measures have had to be taken to make long-term welfare dependence less attractive to a small group of people - this was not a hypothetical example) and not interested in the job at all can, over here, have his welfare check revoked/cut etc. after a warning or two.

being on drugs is like looking like a hobo 24/7; if you can get away with it on your own dime, sure, be my guest! living on welfare however, I expect someone to make an (honest) effort to change that. I don't think anyone will call that unreasonable.

so that makes it such a shame it's usually A**holes like this taking a perfectly reasonable idea, and then mucking it up almost beyond recognition down to a point where there's really no alternative I really like.
blegh.

(by the way wasn't this the guy going after foster care children's clothing allowances?)

44 ThomasLite  Mon, May 9, 2011 7:17:02pm

re: #27 negativ

I don't mind this, so long as the Florida legislature is subjected to the same tests.

thus ensuring no pot-smoking hopeful could ever join the legislature anymore?

setting any conditions for a member of a legislature besides having been elected compliant with relevant law is highly dangerous; it lessens democratic functioning whichever way you look at it.

and if it goes wrong sometimes, well, they got the votes; they can go hop around stoned as hell in a pink bunny costume for four years straight for all I'm concerned.
any electorate that doesn't filter out idiots by the ballot deserves what it gets ;)

45 Bodhi1  Tue, May 10, 2011 12:52:33pm

I don't really understand the outrage on this one. Seems like a good policy.

46 Steve Dutch  Tue, May 10, 2011 3:43:32pm

People are only held accountable if they're productive and self-motivated. If a scientist gets a research grant to study the environment or work on a new medical procedure, she can't get it on her own. She has to be affiliated with an institution so the money can be accounted, and every penny of the grant has to be accounted for. But if you get public assistance, you are under no obligation whatsoever to use the money responsibly, account for it, or indeed behave in a socially responsible manner. Keep your kids in school? Cooperate with the police? Avoid criminal behavior? Stay off drugs as conditions of receiving aid? What barbaric suggestions!

And the only people who are responsible for social injustices are the productive as well. Al-qaeda? It's all because you SUV-driving slobs are addicted to oil. Sweatshops? Selfish consumers demand cheap goods. Destruction of the rain forest? It's to provide cheap meat to McDonald's. Murders by drug cartels? For some odd reason it's not the fault of the people who consume drugs. Nope. In this case the consumers have spotless hands. It's because of the War on Drugs.

What will happen to kids who lose their welfare? For some reason that's not the fault of people who are so stupid and selfish they choose to use drugs after being told they can lose their benefits. It's the fault of the people who make the rules.

I don't buy it. And as for people being forced to "pay for their own drug tests," it's not their money. The taxpayers are providing it.


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