The controversial Florida welfare law requiring food stamps applicants to undergo a drug test before EBT benefits are issued was halted. A federal judge in Orlando temporarily blocked the measure after it was contested by the ACLU for illegal searches and seizures.
Back in 1999, Michigan was the first state to enact random drug testing for recipients of social services programs. Even then, the law lasted only a few weeks before the courts struck it down over privacy and constitutional issues.
However, the state of Florida is credited with enacting its welfare and food stamps drug test as a prerequisite to receive benefits, citing a Washington Post story.
But on Monday, Judge Mary Scriven’s ruling scored a victory for applicants represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. It all began when a 35-year-old single father and Navy veteran working on his college degree declined to take the test before his application for food stamp benefits (or EBT) was approved.
However, many consider the controversial law null at best, as it charges a fee to applicants already burdened with the weight of a financial crisis. Others contend that the numbers failing the Florida welfare test.
“This potential interception of positive drug tests by law enforcement implicates a ‘far more substantial’ invasion of privacy than in ordinary civil drug testing cases ~ Judge Scriven.
Only 32 applicants have failed, 7,000 have passed the test, and 1,600 have refused to be tested for illegal drugs, or controlled dangerous substances. Bear in mind that many people use marijuana for medicinal purposes as an only-means to control pain.
It is hard to quantify or separate them from the pool of recreational users. Still, Florida’s mandatory drug testing law that began back in July, is seen as intrusive, and creates a slippery slope at best for welfare and EBT applicants.
Governor Rick Scott is under fire also for recently ordering spot drug tests for state workers. He has been named in a separate legal matter, again for alleged violations of the Fourth Amendment.
While the Florida welfare drug testing law has been blocked, applicants must remember it’s only temporary until all case law is heard, and challenges considered.
Weigh in. Does mandatory or random drug testing of food stamps and welfare applicants go too far in creating a barrier between the state and its constituents? Or should people who spend their assets to get high be barred from receiving handouts from the state?
How to apply for food stamps, EBT, and welfare (TANF)?
Want more buzz on the latest news, breaking news, and top news, become fans on Twitter and Facebook.