Crime

Drug Testing for Welfare Checks

Looks like state employees aren't the only ones who will have to pee in a cup before they get a check.

On Thursday, a bill that would require welfare recipients to pass a drug test before they could receive state benefits advanced in the Florida Legislature. The proposed law also requires that those seeking financial assistance must pay for the drug tests, which can range from $10 - $70, according to the Palm Beach Post. 

Solantic, an urgent care chain founded by Gov. Rick Scott only charges $35 for drug tests, which is one of the clinic's more popular services.


Scott transferred ownership of Solantic to his wife, Ann, once he took office. But he still ducked questions about the potential conflict of interest.

"As you know, like I said, I have no involvement in any decisions with regard to that company," he told the Post.

Scott wouldn't reply when the reporter reminded him that his wife owned the company.

Even though this is hardly the first time that legislative measures have raised concern about Solantic, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jimmie T. Smith denied having any knowledge of Scott's potential conflict of interest.    

The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure (HB 353) by a vote of 13-5 and an accompanying bill awaits action in the Senate.

In addition to paying for the drug test, welfare recipients would have to wait one year to reapply if they fail and would have to wait three years if they test positive a second time. The law would also require that the Department of Children and Families designate someone as a "protective payee" to receive benefits for parents who fail drug tests.


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Michael Cohen