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Appeals Court Ruling Leaves Open Possibility Of Drug Testing Some State Employees

A federal appeals court has agreed with a lower court that drug testing all state employees could be unconstitutional. The drug testing rule was put in place by Governor Rick Scott in 2010 through an Executive Order, but was challenged. A district court placed an injunction on the order, essentially invalidating it.

But the ruling, by a three-judge panel in Atlanta says the district court's injunction was too broad. The panel left room for drug testing some state employees, if the Governor can make a case its necessary.

 “His position up until now has been he shouldn’t do that and he can test everybody because private employers can test everybody so why shouldn’t he get to test everyone? So we’re also really curious to see what the Governor is going to do from here on out,” said Shalini Goel Agarwal with the ACLU of Florida.

The Appeals Court removed the injunction on Governor Rick Scott’s 2011 state employee drug testing executive order, and sent the case back to the district court to rehear. In a statement, Scott applauded the panel’s decision and says his office will continue to push for state employee drug testing.

“Many Floridians are required to take drug tests in their workplace and it is only right for state workers paid with taxpayer funds to be required to do the same," he said. "The Court did the right thing today by reversing the injunction on our executive order for drug testing state employees. We will go forward in arguing this case in both the appellate and trial courts in order to ensure that taxpayer funds are safeguarded from misuse by ensuring our state workforce is drug free.”

A separate lawsuit on whether drug testing welfare recipients is constitutional is still pending in a lower court.