State News
3:53 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Scott To Appeal Ruling Upholding Temporary Ban On Drug Testing Fla. Welfare Recipients

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A temporary ban on a Florida law requiring the drug testing of welfare recipients has been upheld by a federal appeals court. But, while the group that filed the lawsuit is declaring victory, it also says it’s disappointed in Governor Rick Scott who plans to fight the ruling.

About two years ago, Scott signed a bill into law that would require those who receive welfare cash assistance to undergo a drug test. The American Civil Liberties Union sued and won a temporary ban against the law last October. And, now the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has upheld that decision. Scott says he’s going to fight the latest ruling, and the ACLU’s Howard Simon calls that disturbing:

“All four federal judges that have reviewed this have told the Governor that his program is unconstitutional. Why he wants to continue to defend the indefensible and spend tax dollars to go the U.S. Supreme Court is really beyond me,” Simon remarked.

The state says the testing is needed to deter drug use among welfare recipients. But, in its opinion Tuesday, the federal appeals court said Florida had not demonstrated a “substantial special need” for the law.

Below is a statement by Governor Rick Scott about wanting to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court:

“The court’s ruling today is disturbing. Welfare is 100 percent about helping children. Welfare is taxpayer money to help people looking for jobs who have children. Drug use by anyone with children looking for a job is totally destructive. This is fundamentally about protecting the wellbeing of Florida families. We will protect children and families in our state, and this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.”

-GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.