10.26.2011 1

Drugs and Welfare in Florida

By Rebecca DiFede — Recently, a federal court judge in Florida issued a temporary injunction against the law which requires all candidates for welfare to be drug tested. Within her 37 page order Judge Mary Scriven stipulated that her reason for blocking the law was that it might violate the citizens 4th amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

This event stemmed from a suit brought against the state by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of a man named Luis Lebron. Lebron applied and qualified for welfare, but refused to take a drug test because he maintained that there was no evidence that he used drugs, and therefore no need to test him.

Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law on May 31st and said that “Hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs.” In order to determine whether or not someone has been using drugs, as we have seen time and time again with addicts, it is not sufficient to simply ask them. Gov. Scott’s deputy press secretary Jackie Schutz remarked that, “Drug testing welfare recipients is just a common-sense way to ensure that welfare dollars are used to help children and get parents back to work.”

Judge Scriven’s crusade against welfare drug-testing, backed by the ACLU, is nothing short of ridiculous. It assumes that receiving welfare is a right deserving of constitutional protection.

Those who apply for taxpayer assistance through welfare have decided that they are willing to accept the stipulations that taxpayers through their elected representatives have established.

While hidden behind high-minded rhetoric, it is clear that refusing to take the test and saying it is a violation of their rights is simply a way to avoid taking responsibility for the way recipients spend the welfare money taxpayers gave to them. There is no reason to not want to prove one is clean and sober.

Once again, the Obama Administration is proposing more laws to allow for more tax dollars to flow unhindered from our pockets to those of those anxiously awaiting their welfare check.  It is certainly reasonable to make sure that they are using the money productively and not for drugs.

When waiting to board an airplane, the vast majority of passengers aren’t carrying anything more dangerous than an 80’s Christmas sweater, however they do not insist on not being searched because there is no suspicion that there is any contraband in their bag.

As NetRightDaily has previously reported, students in Michigan who qualified for welfare were caught using their EBT cards for beer and cigarettes, hardly life essentials, so it is not without cause that the state of Florida wishes to screen its welfare recipients.

Government assistance is to help people who don’t make enough money to survive to purchase food and other items which are necessary for their day to day sustenance.  One way to make sure this money is not getting abused is to test the applicants before handing over their check.

The government is giving away the taxpayers’ money, and they should be allowed to choose the requirements for those whom they choose to send that money to.  The people of Florida should hope the injunction put in place by Judge Scriven gets appealed because if not, it will give people who are receiving aid even more excuses to remain on the taxpayers’ dime.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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