Rick Scott Gives Up on Welfare Drug Testing

Drugs are bad, mkay?
Drugs are bad, mkay?
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Is it possible that Rick Scott 2.0 will be a kinder, gentler governor?

Uh. Maybe? In a first term that was filled with dickhead moves, Rick Scott's primo dickhead policy position was probably his push to drug-test welfare recipients. Grounded in the imaginary conservative bogeyman that welfare recipients sit around all day lighting crack pipes with their government checks, welfare drug testing is a complete waste of money. Scott's administration seems to finally have gotten the memo. This week, it admitted it will no longer fight for the proposal.

Scott's law took effect in 2011. Although other states across the country had aimed drug testing at welfare recipients, this governor's take on the slam policy went well beyond what any other state had proposed. Eleven states jumped on this bandwagon, but most required drug testing only if use was suspected, according to the New York Times. Scott tied drug testing to the actual application for assistance. You had to submit your pee to get your check.

Scott claimed this measure was to protect the kiddies.

(As the Times points out, during the four months testing went forward, only 2.6 percent of applicants failed the tests.)

The Florida American Civil Liberties Union sued to shoot down the law. A federal judge agreed with the challenge, a ruling that was backed up in December 2014 by the 11th Circuit federal appeals court.

This week was the deadline for the Scott administration to ask the Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter. The deadline came and went with no move by the administration, the Tampa Bay Times reports. As a result, the lower-court ruling stands.

"We chose not to appeal this case," a Scott spokeswoman told the Times. "The governor is continuing to protect Florida children any way he can and create an environment where families can get jobs so they are able to pursue their dreams in safe communities."

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