Fla Sup Ct Temporarily Suspends Drug Testing Poor
I’m having a hard time finding any news on this item, but I found this on the Florida Senate site.
The law is a gross injustice to the constitutional rights of the poor and needy. Drug testing is usually only mandatory on jobs which focus on safety, security, or those working with children. That would be police, fire, truck drivers, teachers, etc. It’s simply not needed in most other professions.
It also puts forth the false assertion by Republicans that welfare recipients are just drug addicts looking for a handout to buy more drugs. DCF in Florida has already testified that a whopping 2.7% of welfare recipients are drug addicts. A small minority, not a large majority.
And, of course, as we all know, only those lying, cheating Democrats take part in welfare programs. Uh huh. Right.
Florida Governor Skeletor is a crook. I can’t say this enough. He should be in jail for bilking the public out of millions, but instead, he was elected to run one of the most politically influential states in the nation.
At any rate, Senator Joyner talks about the decision, its flawed premise and the lies spread by Republicans.
Senator Arthenia Joyner Applauds Drug Testing Injunction
Criticizes use by Attorney General of biased and flawed report to defend state’s position
Tallahassee — Senate Democratic Leader Pro Tem Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) on Monday hailed the issuance of a temporary federal court injunction against mandatory drug testing for needy families seeking emergency government help. And she called on Republican Governor Rick Scott and Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi to come clean on numbers and conclusions manufactured by a close ally of the governor, used to defend the controversial testing law.
‘I’m glad the judge saw through the smoke and mirrors,’ Sen. Joyner said. ‘Submitting this bogus report as credible documentation to bolster the perception that poor Floridians are more likely to use drugs is like inventing a supposed cure for a disease and then relying on your brother’s promises that it’s safe for everyone. The fix is in.’
At the crux of the court challenge is legislation supported by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed earlier this year by Governor Scott, requiring every applicant for modest cash benefits under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to submit to a drug test. A Navy veteran and single father who refused to submit to the test challenged the constitutionality of the new law.
To defend the state’s case, the Attorney General submitted evidence which included a flawed report authored by a controversial ally of the governor.
The report was written by Tarren Bragdon, CEO and president of a Naples-based right wing think tank recently launched to promote an ultra conservative agenda. Both Bragdon and Governor Scott have a long standing relationship stemming from their past attempts to defeat the President’s national health care reform initiative.
Bragdon’s assertions that first-time TANF applicants are deterred from completing the application process due to Florida’s new law, and that savings to the state were significant because ‘9.6 percent’ of the applicants were denied in July, were cited by the Attorney General as part of the court filings.
Those claims, however, were directly refuted by an official from the Department of Children and Families, who recently testified that only about 2.7 percent of applicants tested positive. The small number who ultimately never took the test was reflective of a general decrease in applicants over the past few years, he added.
In his report, Bragdon also claims that Florida’s TANF drug testing is not unique and that more states were similarly testing. Not true, said Senator Joyner, who has filed legislation repealing the testing law. Florida is the only state forcing every applicant to test, rather than limiting it to those suspected of illegal drug use, she said. In addition, the contested law requires taxpayers to reimburse those who pass the test, casting significant doubt on any claims of substantial savings.
‘Under federal provisions, Florida has had the ability all along to deny TANF help to any applicant convicted of a felony drug charge, but has refused to do so. Not only is the new law a punishment for being poor, it’s a waste of tax dollars; the overwhelmingly majority of TANF applicants test negative. Now, taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars to reimburse these families for a test that exclusively benefits the drug testing industry.’
With a final decision on the court challenge expected, Senator Joyner warned the governor and attorney general against any additional use of taxpayer dollars to protect the government’s trampling on constitutional rights.
‘It’s bad enough they’re actually defending this privacy-gutting law,’ she said. ‘But it’s especially troubling when they’re relying on the self-serving musings of the governor’s friend to justify it.’
Thank goodness for Senator Joyner.