Federal Judge Blocks Florida's Plan To Drug Test Welfare Recipients

Earlier this year, Florida enacted a law that requires welfare recipients to pass drug tests to qualify for benefits. A federal judge stepped in and stopped the law in its track marks over concerns that it violates the Fourth Amendment, which bans illegal searches and seizures. The law would have forced recipients to pay for their own drug tests.

The Miami Herald reports the ruling supports an American Civil Liberties Union suit on behalf of a single father who met the criteria to receive aid but believes it’s unfair to be forced through the testing process.

From the judge’s decision:

“But, if invoking an interest in preventing public funds from potentially being used to fund drug use were the only requirement to establish a special need, the State could impose drug testing as an eligibility requirement for every beneficiary of every government program. Such blanket intrusions cannot be countenanced under the Fourth Amendment.”

The ACLU, which says it expects the state to appeal, said Michigan passed similar legislation in 1999 before courts slapped it down.

Welfare drug testing halted [Miami Herald]

Previously: Florida Will Screen Welfare Recipients For Drug Use