Saying it is “unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed legislation requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.
“It’s the right thing for taxpayers,” Scott said after signing the measure. “It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs.”
Under the law, which takes effect on July 1, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services will be required to conduct the drug tests on adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The aid recipients would be responsible for the cost of the screening, which they would 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.
Shortly after the bill was signed, five Democrats from the state’s congressional delegation issued a joint statement attacking the legislation, one calling it “downright unconstitutional.”