Judge Strikes Down Welfare Drug Testing in Florida

A Florida Republican law requiring all Welfare recipients to pass drug testing has been put on hold by a Federal Court. The law is unconstitutional, due to the fact that it violates personal protections against the government invading a citizen’s privacy without reasonable evidence of wrongdoing. Statistically, Republican legislators in the state are more likely to use drugs than welfare recipients.

So… In view of the legislators ability to royally screw everything up for everyone…

Why don’t they pass a law that all elected officials in the state are regularly tested?

Federal judge temporarily bars Florida’s welfare drug-test law

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a controversial Florida law requiring all welfare applicants to be drug-tested.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Scriven issued a temporary injunction Monday evening against enforcement of the law’s “suspicionless drug testing” of adults seeking federal welfare.

The law went into effect July 1, but a single father and the American Civil Liberties Union contend in a lawsuit that the new law is unconstitutional and violates Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

“Perhaps no greater public interest exists than protecting a citizen’s rights under the Constitution,” the judge wrote, quoting a 1997 Hawaii case.

Under the law, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services requires the drug tests of adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The aid recipients are responsible for the cost of the screening, which they recoup in their assistance if they qualify.

Those who fail the required drug testing may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of their children, but they do not receive a refund for cost of the test.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has championed the law, saying it provides “personal accountability.” He added it was “unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction.”

Florida is not the first state to pass such legislation. Michigan passed a similar law that was found to be unconstitutional by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 for violating the Fourth Amendment…

The GOP-controlled legislature passed the bill, and Scott signed it into law in May 2011.

“The governor obviously disagrees with the decision and he will evaluate his options regarding when to appeal,” said his deputy press secretary Jackie Schutz.

Since campaigning for governor, Scott has said that the drug-testing of welfare recipients “will help to prevent misuse of Florida tax dollars” and make sure the money goes to the children.

“Research shows higher drug use among individuals receiving government assistance, and drug abuse also forces children into welfare assistance,” Scott said while signing the bill into law.

The ACLU said the state’s own study found that of the 2,000 people who took the state drug test, only a small percentage tested positive.

“It shows that a little bit more than 2% of the welfare applicants tested positive for drugs where it’s about 8½% in the general public,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

DWB? Try DWBM!

That Sinking Feeling

That Sinking Feeling

DWB is a familiar term to some folks. You KNOW who you are!

But DWBM? And no, the “M” here isn’t for Male.

Man Jailed 3 Months for DWBM – Driving With Breath Mints?

Donald May probably wishes he had just let his breath stay funky.

According to May, it was his bad luck to be chewing on breath mints when he was pulled over for an expired tag on his car. The arresting officer thought the mints looked like crack cocaine rocks and threw Mays in the slammer for drug possession.

“He took [the mints] out of my mouth and put them in a baggy and locked me up [for] possession of cocaine and tampering with evidence,” May explained.

The officer claimed he field-tested the evidence and it tested positive for drugs. The officer said he saw May buying drugs while he was stopped at an intersection. He also stated in his report May waived his Miranda rights and voluntarily admitted to buying drugs.

May said that never happened.”My client never admitted he purchased crack cocaine. Why would he say that?” attorney Adam Sudbury said.

May’s life was turned upside down when he was unable to bond out. While in jail for three months, May lost his job, was evicted from his apartment and his car was auctioned off. May was only released from jail once the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office sent a letter stating test results confirmed that there were no drugs.

Believe it or not, it is possible that the mints tested positive. As it turns out, drug field tests routinely return false positives:

It’s a bit odd how often narco field testing kits turn back false positives. In the past, we’ve seen chocolate chip cookies, deodorant, billiards chalk, and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap come back positive, all causing undeserved, firsthand familiarity with the criminal justice system for the owners of the innocuous substances. Looks like we can now add breath mints to the list.

But Donald May might just have the last laugh yet; he is suing the city for false arrest and false imprisonment and wants to be compensated for his losses. My hunch? He’s about to get paid.

Damn! Those Altoid Mints really are…

“Curiously Strong”!

Strong Enough to Test Positive?

Strong Enough to Test Positive?

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