In a crushing defeat for his endless assault on the poor, Florida Governor Rick Scott ended 2013 with a federal judge ruling that his policy of mandatory drug testing for all welfare recipients is unconstitutional, making a hold on the law in 2011 permanent after its brief roll out.
The testing, which aimed to screen welfare applicants and recipients for drug use, was warmly welcomed by Tea Party factions throughout the state, but faced stiff opposition from progressives and many more conservative budget hawks alike as few could find any practical purposes to the costly and highly questionable practice.
A number of states with similar legislation before their legislatures are watching the outcome from the recent ruling closely, as GOP/Tea Party lawmakers are expected to appeal. The decision declaring the practice of testing came down with Judge Mary Scriven writing:
[box type=”shadow”]”The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied,”[/box]
Adding insult to injury regarding the proposed drug tests, costs for the urinalysis testing itself was passed directly on to applicants and welfare recipients to the tune of between $25 and $45. With those who passed the test being reimbursed for the costs and less than 2% of applicants failing, little rational justification for upholding the law remained beyond Scriven’s ruling of basic unconstitutionality.
While conservatives claim drug testing is vital to ensuring that children aren’t being raised by drug addicts, the data resulting from the short-lived practice, as well as the central reality that the law serves as a de facto mandate that the poor require additional personal scrutiny, casts considerable doubt on the assertions that this law is strictly aimed at improving public health and safety.
With Tea Party legislators across the country laying out track records that point to an undeniable contempt for the poor, these now banned Florida policies are heating up once again as a central battle between progressive and more sensible policy advocates and the classist — even racist — agendas of Tea Party factions throughout the nation.
As Governor Scott maintains significant stock investments in many of the clinics and companies involved in the proposed testing, it should come as little surprise that he’s vowed to fight to defend the policy, despite the judge’s ruling and the easily demonstrated irrelevance and cost to it.
Despite this obvious and vested interest, Scott maintains his position on drug testing is purely for the benefit of the people of Florida (who find it burdensome) and the state budget (which spends more than it saves through such.)