Florida welfare applicants struggling with drug addiction will no longer qualify for public assistance for one year or until they complete an addiction treatment program.
Delray Beach FL – June 1, 2011 Governor Rick Scott signed legislation on Tuesday requiring individuals applying for government assistance to submit drug testing with the intention of preventing Florida taxpayers from funding drug addiction.
“It’s unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” said Gov. Scott.
Effective July 1, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services will be drug testing every adult applying for federal assistance. Welfare recipients will be responsible for the cost of the drug screening, and will be reimbursed if they meet the requirements. Florida welfare candidates who fail a drug test can opt to appoint another individual to obtain assistance for the benefit of their children.
Within a short time after Gov. Scott’s decision, controversy arose from the opposing side. Florida Democrats submitted a statement opposing the welfare recipient drug testing legislation, naming it “downright unconstitutional.” Some are even calling the legislation, “an extreme and illegal invasion of personal privacy.”
Disagreement heightened as those opposing drug testing welfare recipients noted Scott’s past involvement in co-founding a walk-in urgent care clinic that includes drug testing in the company’s list of services provided. Last April Scott transferred ownership of Solantic Corp. to a trust in his wife’s name announcing that the clinic would not contract for government business. According to Florida media outlets, Scott sold his majority share of the clinic.
In May, the Florida Ethics Commission determined that the two conflict-of interest grievances directed at Scott were legally unsatisfactory to authorize an investigation, and stated that, “no prohibited conflict of interest” occurred.