FLA Governor Rick Scott Signs Welfare Drug Testing Requirement

There is something inherently wrong with Florida governor Rick Scott. Everything he touches seems to turn to doo-doo. (I’m trying to be polite here)

The “mine, mine, mine, me, me, me” foolks* are all praise be and glory hallelujahs over Rick Scott’s signing a bill to require mandatory drug testing for applicants for public assistance in Florida.

That’s right if you are down on your luck in Florida and lost your job, or your spouse being the dead beat that he (or she) is and left you with the kids to feed and without an option other than to apply for public assistance, you must first provide the state with a sample for drug testing. Yep, hair, urine or blood is what the state of Florida will now require as part of the application process for public assistance.

The far right or as I like to call them “those selfish people” are tickled pink that “welfare people” (we know what they really mean) will now have to submit to drug testing before they can collect public assistance benefits. Now don’t get me wrong, I like many other people, don’t think that taxpayer dollars should go to drug sales. (barring the pharmaceutical companies of course with the huge benefit they reaped from the Medicare drug plan. nudge, nudge wink,wink)

Because “we don’t need no welfare people buying their drugs with our tax money”. The comment boards on all the news sites all lit up with that repeated refrain. (There apparently is a lot of left-brain thinking going on in the far right world. Especially among those who were typing out their messages while furiously clutching their cans of Bud.)

Here are some of the specifics.
An applicant will have to submit to drug testing when they apply to DCF (Dept of Children and Families) for assistance.
The state is required to tell them that they won’t have to submit for the test if they just cancel their application and walk away. (ain’t that just swell of them?)
If they fail the test the first time they are banned from receiving assistance for six months.
If they fail a second time they are banned from benefits for three years.
If they pass the test the taxpayers will pay for it. (Test costs range from $10-$25 (as reported by the Miami Herald).
If they fail the test the applicant has to pay for the test. No mention is made about retesting if the applicant is insistent that the test is a false positive. (more expense)

Now does anyone else see what is wrong with this picture?

Never mind that the ACLU is all over this like a Miami cop on a pastelito. There are privacy issues involved here after all. And of course the far right will be all over the ACLU about it. (They never seem to recognize the ACLU has defended the right-wing too.)

Here is what is going to happen. The Tax Payers (you and I) are going to pay for this coming and going and who really benefits?

Follow the money trail.

Solantic, the urgent care chain co-founded by Rick Scott offers, you guessed it, drug testing as one of their services. Yeah we know Rick divested himself of his shares. (and put them in his wife’s name) I’m telling you this guy doesn’t only look like a weasel…

Generic image of rick scott

Image via Wikipedia

You see the right-wing crowd chanting Go Rick Scott! fail to realize that Rick Scott continues to cost them more money with policies that are designed to play up to the Tea Party.

I already mentioned the ACLU. The state is going to have to defend lawsuits about this bill. (So there’s some extra money the state doesn’t have. Ask all the Broward County teachers that received their walking papers recently.)

Again let’s continue down the money trail.

So someone who can’t afford to eat or pay their rent (or for child care so that they can work), applies for public assistance and fails a drug test. (let’s ignore for the moment how prevalent false positives are with drug tests) The question is: How do they think they are going to collect the fee on a failed drug test? They have no money to begin with. Are they going to require them to pay for the test up front? So where will they get the money to do that? (Sounds like a Catch-22 to me Captain Yossarian)  If they pass the test the taxpayers will pay for the test. So for the taxpayers this is a lose/lose situation. Either way we are going to foot the bill.

Why are the Tea Partiers so happy again?

So who wins? Follow the yellow brick road. The drug testing labs will see about 4,000 drug tests a month that they otherwise wouldn’t have seen prior to the bill.


Is this part of Rick Scott’s job creation policy that he ran on last year? Or just a great way to push some more taxpayer money off to his and his buddies’ investments.

Now I am not going to just sit here and type out a little Rick bashing. (Though I do enjoy being right about this weasel. I told people not to vote for him and weekly he sure does a fine job of proving me correct. Yes, I do enjoy gloating.)

Bear with me I will offer an alternative.

Look, people skate on the old piss tests all the time. There are many ways to defeat drug testing. There are whole industries built around it. Cocaine, methamphetamine and most other drugs leave the body system in a very short period of time so with a modicum of planning a drug user can get around the drug test. (Pot smokers however will have a 30 day drying out period.) So really the only ones they are going to catch are the most habitual of users. A very small percentage of the applicants I’ll bet.

So, you want to keep cash from DCF out of the hands of drug dealers? Then stop giving welfare recipients checks to be cashed.

Give them a DCF debit card instead. If you have used a FSA (Flexible Spending Account) pre-tax medical deduction for out-of-pocket health care expenses you know that the debit card that your insurance provider gives you can only be used for specific types of purchases. If it isn’t on the list of pre-approved items the card rejects the purchase. The same could be done with DCF cards. Purchases could be tracked. Non-eligible purchases could be prevented. The cardholder could be required to provide ID at the point of purchase and prevents someone from giving their card to their drug dealer. It’s actually pretty simple and it would put a halt to the very thing that Rick Scott claims this bill was about and at a fraction of the cost to the taxpayers.

But we all know that isn’t what this is really all about now is it?

Follow the money trail.

*foolks: hybridization of fools and folks.

About NoSacredCow

Irreverent atheist, skeptic, independent voter, social liberal, fiscal conservative, music lover, avid reader, engager in ruthless repartee, just an extra in somebody else's movie...
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29 Responses to FLA Governor Rick Scott Signs Welfare Drug Testing Requirement

  1. Pingback: THANK YOU RICK SCOTT…. « S.A.D.

  2. mike says:

    Ok…just stop for one second. I know a family (Husband, wife and 3 kids) whos only source of income is that Godsend we call Welfare. If it wasn’t for that check, they might actually have to spend some of that money the Oxy money on things like Milk and eggs rather than buying weed and coke. For Christ sake, think of the KIDS!

    • randrand says:


  3. Freedom Fighter says:

    The question shouldn’t be whether welfare recipients should be drug tested, the question is whether there should be any welfare at all. Nowhere in the Constitution, and nowhere in the Bible, does it state that the role of government is to help the poor, that is the role of the church. The role of government is to uphold the natural rights of the people given to us by our Creator. Their role is to punish evildoers while leaving the law-abiding alone. When you have a welfare state, the rights of those who work are violated. It is morally wrong to take money by force from one group of people and give it to another, it is theft! Rick Scott is just as much the parasite as the libs who created the welfare state in the first place. First, the libs steal from the honest laborers and give to deadbeats who don’t want to work, and then Rick Scott, instead of eliminating welfare altogether, sucks even MORE money off the taxpayers for these drug tests, and makes himself a big bundle of money in the process! He ought to go to prison. There should be no drug testing anywhere; not in government, not in the private sector, not ANYWHERE!!! It is a scam, a rackett. I don’t know who’s more selfish; the libs or the right wing fascists. Yes, drug use is a sin, but leave that to the church to preach against it. God knows everything you do, so whether or not there is drug testing is irrelevent, your sins will find you out. There’s no sin in using marijuana or other drugs for medicinal purposes, but it is a sin to abuse them, it is a form of idolitry. Drunkeness is also a sin, as is smoking, overeating, laziness, etc. But once again, let the church preach against it. If you are abusing substances, you and you alone must decide whether to listen to your conscience or sear it. Nobody should be forced to stop abusing themselves, but on the other hand, nobody should be forced to give their hard-earned tax dollars to those who are impoverished as a result of their own irresponsible behavior. If people knew that if they drank and gambled their money away they would get no help from the government, it would force them to change their ways. It would make them better people, more productive. Allow people to learn from their mistakes. Let the government deal with crime and the church deal with sin.

    • NoSacredCow says:

      First off the bible has nothing to do with our constitution so bringing up welfare and the bible is, well, ridiculous. Second, in 2000 years of christianity it has done nothing toward solving poverty. Why? Because religion thrives on poverty. It needs poverty to exist.
      Now if you want to talk about selfishness. I want to to think very hard about something. Welfare is meant to help people out in times of hardship. It is not meant to make it a livelihood, granted. However without welfare the crime rate would increase. We would end up spending more on interdiction and incarceration. We would all be living in walled compounds and gated communities. When people have no other way to feed their families they steal to do it. It is human nature the survival instinct. (The result of evolution).

      And if you are to put so much weight on the bible then maybe you better reread what Jesus said, “If your brother asks for your shirt, give him your coat, also.” (Matthew 5:40)

      • Freedom Fighter says:

        Yeah, I know what Jesus said. He commands INDIVIDUALS to help the poor, it is not the role of the government. Welfare is THEFT, plain and simple. It violates the rights of those who work. True charity comes from the heart, when you have welfare, it is not charity, but COERSION. There is a difference between helping those out who are poor through no fault of their own(such as people who are blind and crippled and orphans) and those who are poor because they are irresponsible or too lazy to work. The Bible also says that if a man does not work, HE SHALL NOT EAT!

      • NoSacredCow says:

        and those jobs are where? You do realize of course that the jobs that used to go to unskilled labor have dwindled away to nothing. That rural America is the fastest rising in unemployed? It isn’t urban America any longer.

        It’s ok to admit that you are just selfish. ;p

      • NoSacredCow says:

        “The Bible also says that if a man does not work, HE SHALL NOT EAT!”

        And most welfare recipients are women and children.

        The cognitive dissonance is deafening…

    • Russ Braaten says:

      It is funny when people who have no knowledge of the bible try to use it as a tool to manipulate people to believe their self serving battles. The Old Testament is where rules about caring for those who can not take care of themselves. In the Old Testament times the “church” was the government.

      (now to help your pro testing argument)
      I happen to be a Social Security recipient due to serious medical problems. I seriously wish I could work but I pain into Social Security for many years and if those payments went into a private disability policy I would be doing ok now.

      Anyone who thinks the meager government benefit would support even a minor illegal drug habit it nuts. Most drug users have to be involved in some sort of illegal action to support their habits.

      Now The idea of using a debit card to control how their money is spent is really stupid.Other than booze and cigarettes, what would you stop the people from buying? This blogger says druggies are easily able to cheat piss tests but he does not think they would be able to pull cash out of their debit cards. Stupid! Saying you will not bash Scott? I am able to read English and understand what I read. All you did was bash him with childish rants. If you were able to explain your position with serious and reasonable arguments you may even get people to rethink their opinions.

      Trying to scare people that they will have to pay out tons of money for testing is also really stupid and anyone smart enough to earn a paycheck high enough to pay taxes will soon figure out that if only 2% of the welfare recipients were found to be using drugs a weeks worth of those retained benefits and costs to pay them would pay for months of all drug testing.

      Drug use is not a victimless crime. Those children you are saying you want to protect are some of the worst who are victimized. Drug crime is one of the most heinous of crimes, from cartel murders to family destruction to the destruction of the users themselves. (You get the idea)

      Criminals of every kind should not get money from the very people they comit the crimes against.

      • NoSacredCow says:

        #1 Yes I find it rather odd that the same people who squeal about “Sharia Law” in one breath don’t see the hypocrisy when they demand that the bible be used for law.

        #2 Correct a welfare check would not make a dent into a drug habit.

        #3 I guess you have never used a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) provided by an insurer. They are very explicit as to the types of items that can be purchased with the card. By the same token the Flex card in the application of welfare could be used to pay the electric, pay for non-taxable foodstuffs (Yes states already determine which items are taxable and non-taxable if you didn’t realize it already. It’s why the politicians play up the back to school tax free sales weekend in Florida.), etc. It really is a no-brainer and much less expensive to maintain as a system. (otherwise insurers wouldn’t do it.)

        #4 You would have to catch a lot more than 2% to recoup the cost of the program to taxpayers. How much do you think that welfare recipients get in benefits?

        #5 don’t conflate the actions of drug cartels and (our own CIA, remember our little drugs to finance anti-commie rebels programs of the 80’s?) End the war on drugs and make it a

          public health issue

        . The war on drugs artificially inflates the price of “illicit” drugs incentivizing criminals. If there was no profit (or more correctly a HUGE profit) no one would get involved in the drug trade. (Just ask Merck or Pfizer). But that is another discussion.

        By the way alcohol abuse is much more prevalent among the poor than drug use. For one it is much much cheaper. But they aren’t testing to see if the recipient likes to down a 12 pack of Old Milwaukee and beat their kids now are they? If this was really and truly about that then alcohol would be a major part of the campaign.

        Yes I bash Rick Scott. Reread the bneginning of the post again. I thought I made that clear. He is bad for Florida. He is good for the folks in Palm Beach and Star Island but not the rest of us.

  4. M. L. Kotrla says:

    Does it bother you that people have to submit to drug tests before being hired? Or that many who work have to submit to random drug tests? If not, and it does bother you for people to do so for welfare, then you are rather messed up. Why would one be fine and the other ohmygoodness infringing on our rights?

    If you think no drug testing should be done for either then fine at least you are treating all the same.

    Totally for drug testing for welfare. We do not want to help people to be addicted!

    • NoSacredCow says:

      Yes it bothers me that Rick Scott also signed into effect a requirement that state workers submit to random drug testing not just new hires.
      (Whether there is suspicion or not.) The ACLU is already suing over that one.
      Personally I believe the war on drugs needs to be ended. Talk about a complete waste of taxpayer money. It is costing us billions of dollars.

  5. Pattifab says:

    Bottom Line…forget the politics…If the worker has to take a drug test to get a job, thus paying taxes that goes to a welfare recipient…then the welfare recipient should have to take the drug test too. If the worker fails the test, he doesn’t get the job….if the welfare recipient doesn’t pass the test..he doesn’t get the handout. It’s really very simple…what’s good for the goose is good for gander!

    • NoSacredCow says:

      You seem to miss a point. Someone is applying for welfare because they have no money. Right? That is, after all, the premise for needing help.
      The vast majority of those filing for help have never touched drugs in their lives. Now they have to come up with the money up front to pay for the test.
      Where is that fee going to come from? Are you going to front them the money?
      The worker doesn’t have to pay for the test, the company does. See the difference? Also the worker can contest a false positive test. This law makes no allowances for the families applying.
      This move is doing two things, continuing to play up to the Tea Party and as a money making scheme for the folks administering the tests. The vast majority will pass and the taxpayer will foot the bill.

      This isn’t good for anyone except the ones making money off of it.

      • Jim says:

        According to the article the recipient only pays if they FAIL the test.

      • NoSacredCow says:

        and it is deducted from their benefits. (fine print) But the labs doing the testing get paid no matter what and that my friend is the crux of the rubber biscuit. Friends of Rick Scott gettin’ paid…

    • NoSacredCow says:

      The applicant must pay up front and if they pass the test they get reimbursed in their next check.
      And Jim and guess who pays for it?
      You do. The taxpayers do. You have to look at the big picture. This is going to cost Florida taxpayers millions more a year.
      How come the “smaller government folks” are so gung-ho for greater personal restrictions? I guess for the same reason they don’t vote for their own best interests…

  6. I think the bill doesn’t go far enough. There should be drug testing to get on welfare AND random drug testing for continued welfare support. Don’t show up for your scheduled random test, no more checks for 6 months.

  7. crazyj says:

    After reading comments above:
    I am subjected to Randoms in order to KEEP my job, in my opinion, ALL should be tested. Just think of the people in government, schools, state jobs etc that effect people everyday in some way, very well could be an addict. Welfare was created to be a CRUTCH not a way of living. There are always ways around a “scheduled” drug test, they should all be randoms. The way I look at it, there isn’t anyone out there that DON’T know what drugs can do to a person, so there is no excuse. In this economy people should want to keep their job/assistance….so, stay off the drugs. SIMPLE Plus, think of ALL the money jails/prisons get per inmate, and most are drug dealers! Murders/raspiest etc get work release/bail cause there are more drug dealers, equals MORE money~

    • NoSacredCow says:

      Do you believe that all jobs should require drug testing?

      Just think of the people in government, schools, state jobs etc that effect people everyday in some way

      By that logic we should also bring back the prohibition of alcohol and require testing for alcohol too. And what about prescription drugs? The #1 drug problem in this country is legally prescribed pharmaceuticals.
      As to the last part of your statement, with an end to the war on drugs it will remove the financial incentives for drug dealers. Prohibition doesn’t work. Never has and never will. Empty the prisons of casual users who have been incarcerated due to minimum sentencing guidelines.
      People need to start looking at the big picture. America incarcerates a larger percentage of it population than any other country in the world including China.

      • crazyj says:

        If it’s a tax paying job, then yes. Of course, there are ways around that as well. RANDOM drug testing is covering all drugs, alcohol included. AS IN, if you show up for work all drunk/prescribed drugged up… really?. Legally prescribed drugs should be regulated as well. No scrip, see ya! Illegal drugs, just plain dumb. No mater what type of job you have. There are CLEAN people out there that are in NEED of a job. Why should those that abuse themselves, and the system be so protected?
        “with an end to the war on drugs it will remove the financial incentives for drug dealers”
        I agree. Again, if the gov. isn’t making money off it in some way, don’t’ see that end coming around.
        Yes, America incarcerates a much larger percentage of people. 1. Again, who’s making money off the tax payers. 2. What is a majority of the crimes? 3. Other countries have a “different” way of handling crime and I can bet it isn’t sitting in jail/prison.
        I’m NOT perfect in any way, I have my vices, but i don’t agree to my hard sweat earned tax dollars going toward a program/gov. that just abuses it.

  8. TecTeacher says:

    We need random drug testing for welfare and for Teachers; anyone that is responsible for our children all day should be tested. We have had problems in our schools with teachers who are addicts. I am a teacher and due to recent layoffs have had to apply for assistance. I would have no problem paying the fee even if I had to borrow the money from someone. I know I can pass the drug test.

    • NoSacredCow says:

      First I’d like you to cite these “problems in our schools with teachers who are addicts” You see random testing has been thrown out as unconstitutional without probable cause. There are already rules in place when it comes to teachers. If there is probable cause testing can be ordered as part of the job evaluation and disciplinary process. Many people interact with children on a daily basis. Crossing guards, coaches, piano teachers, acting coaches, scout leaders, the clergy, your Uncle Bob, etc. So you would, by your very logic, require testing for anyone who comes in contact with children. It’s a ridiculous premise.
      We would need to test practically the entire population of the United States. 30 percent of the population would fail. Then what would you do with them? Toss them into rehab or prison? Who will pay? Remember the purpose behind Gov Scott’s plan was to allegedly save the state money. But the fact of the matter is it was a ploy that will cost the taxpayers during a time when taxpayers are demanding more oversight and debt cuts. The only winner would be the testing labs and more importantly those that own them.

  9. Tim says:

    So exactly what are the statistics on drug tests returning false positives? You put it out there like it’s so high drug testing shouldn’t even be done. Should we only do things that have a 100% solution? If that’s the case then congress shouldn’t have passed obamacare, or practically any other law for that matter.

    • NoSacredCow says:

      All you had to do was look it up. Instead of “putting it out there” that it was made up.

      According to R. Brookler, “Industry Standards in Workplace Drug Testing,” Personnel Journal, (April 1992). Laboratories admit that urine tests are not always accurate. The manufacturers of all drug testing equipment acknowledge that all positive results should be confirmed with a more sophisticated test. The only acceptable drug confirmation test is the costly gas chromatography/mass spectrometer. Without confirmation by an alternative testing method, urine drug tests are not sufficiently reliable to hold up in court.

      Only 85 of the estimated 1,200 laboratories in the United States currently testing urine for drugs meet federal standards for accuracy, qualified lab personnel, and proper documentation and record-keeping procedures. Because private companies are not required to use certified drug testing labs, workers are being asked to put their job security in the hands of a drug test that has insufficient quality controls.”

      You can also apply Bayes Theorem to random drug testing to show the higher proportion of false categorizations.

      Go ahead and Google “Drug Test False Positive” and you’ll find plenty on the subject matter.

      I think, however, you are still missing the point. This is a moneymaker for Rick Scott’s cronies. This isn’t for the good of Floridians.

  10. Steve says:

    It is a touchy subject. This is certain though:

    If you are down on your luck, you should be responsible enough to not be wasting money on drugs. Even more so if you have children. Personally, if I ever got to the point where I needed assistance and they asked me for a cup of my piss, I’d grab the cup, fill it to the brim, then collect my check with no complaints…Would be easy for me, since I don’t use them though.

    • Steve says:

      Sorry to reply to myself…However, I think that 90% of the people who fail drug tests are probably because of THC. This failure could be avoided if they made it legal. This is coming from someone who doesn’t smoke, by the way. 😉

      • NoSacredCow says:

        I agree with you on legalization of cannabis. It is a stupid law. A victimless crime for simple use and/or possession. It should be taxed just like alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, notice that there isn’t a ban of alcohol in Rick Scott’s ruling? Alcohol is a drug. A far more insidious drug than alcohol.

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