Rick Scott’s attempt to have welfare recipients drug tested under the guise that it would save taxpayers money is over. An Appellate Court in Florida shot down Scott’s drug-testing law yesterday and suspended the requirement. Data collected since the plans implementation shows that only 2 percent of welfare recipients have tested positive for drugs, information that illustrates how ill-conceived the Governor’s plan was to start. The Court called the testing “intrusive” as it violated the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches.
One of the main cruxes Scott used to support the plan, and one that garnered support from his other utilitarian-minded comrades, was that it would save Florida money. However, the court found that the plan cost the state of Florida over $45,000 in the 4 months that the law has been in effect. Of the applicants drug tested, 96 percent passed, 2 percent failed, and the remaining 2 percent received inconclusive results. The projected savings for the state never materialized.
Having his original plans stopped by the Court and attempting to recover in the face of certain loss on the matter, Scott argues that citizens need to look at the big picture, which he feels is that the law will be beneficial in ways greater than just monetary gain.
“Welfare is 100 percent about helping children. Welfare is taxpayer money to help people looking for jobs who have children. Drug use by anyone with children looking for a job is totally destructive. This is fundamentally about protecting the well-being of Florida families,” says Scott in a statement. However, attorneys for the state could not provide evidence that, without drug testing, children of families that receive benefits are more at risk.
Scott is vowing to take the “disturbing” decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the future of this controversial law looks grim.
Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire.