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Opinion

Florida Passes Drug Testing for Welfare Payments


A Column by the Editor
web posted June 6, 2011

COLUMN – Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill making drug testing for welfare recipients a requirement in order to receive payments. The bill also requires that those who apply for welfare must pay for the drug test themselves. If the test comes back clean they are reimbursed for the cost. Republicans said the law was needed because if taxpayers are screened at their place of employment, so should welfare recipients.

Gov. Scott signed the bill into law last Monday and legal challenges are expected. A similar law past in Michigan in 1999, which required random drug testing of welfare recipients, was struck down as unconstitutional after a four-year legal battle. Since this law requires testing for recipients at the time they sign up for benefits, they believe the law will withstand any court challenges.

This is a concept that many conservatives and moderates support since most workers have to pass a drug test before they can be hired and face random drug testing in order to keep their jobs.

I could not agree more. If the federal government and states allow drug testing of applicants for employment either in the private sector or state or local governments in order to pay the taxes that are used to provide welfare to those who do not work, then those receiving benefits from those taxes should have to do the same.

Democrats and liberals in Florida are already blowing a gasket. They are claiming racism is behind the measure and it is unconstitutional. However in Florida there are blacks, whites, Hispanics and Cubans who receive welfare. All who sign up for welfare benefits will have to be tested, regardless of race. But that doesn't matter to them, it's the standard rallying cry from the left when they have no real basis for a counter argument.
On the latter claim, drugs are illegal and signing up for welfare is voluntary. I see no problem with that being constitutional.

The main premise behind the law is that if the person applying for taxpayer's money has money for drugs they don't need the welfare. It will also prevent taxpayer monies from being used to purchase drugs by the recipient. Works for me.

More often than not, the highest concentration of drugs and crime is found where public housing and welfare is concentrated. By requiring the drug test it will no doubt prevent those who live off the government from getting high off the government at our expense as well.

The abuse of the welfare system has long been documented and something has to be done to rein it in. Intended to be a hand up during trying times, and many use it in that way, it has become a way of life for many with generation after generation continuing to receive public housing, public assistance, and welfare.

I applaud Gov. Scott and the Florida Republicans for taking the bold move to bring some sanity to the welfare system in their state. Let's hope South Carolina legislators and Gov. Nikki Haley will follow suit.

Perhaps they will include drug testing every month that benefits are paid and not just in the beginning. If a person receiving the welfare fails a drug test one month they should lose the payments for the following month unless they test clean again. A person that fails three drug tests should be removed from eligibility for at least a year. If they fail three more after being reinstated, they should be banned from all forms of public assistance.

Let's face it, not being able to pass a drug test is most likely the reason they are not able to find a good paying job in the first place. We should not reward that behavior by giving them a safety net to continue their drug use at taxpayers’ expense.








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