Bloomberg News

Florida Governor Sued for State Employee Drug Testing

June 01, 2011

(Adds date of drug testing measure for welfare recipients in sixth paragraph.)

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Florida Governor Rick Scott was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union over drug testing for state employees.

The suit, filed in Miami federal court yesterday, claims the law, which allows Florida to take urine and hair samples before hiring state workers, is an unreasonable search and seizure. The law also allows current state workers to be tested. The suit seeks an immediate stop to the practice.

Scott, a 58-year-old Republican, signed the measure into law on March 22.

The U.S. Supreme Court “has held that suspicionless drug- testing by the government is an unreasonable search,” according to the suit. The high court said a search is permitted only under “special circumstances” such as employees who work in positions where there is “concrete danger of real harm,” according to the suit.

A spokesman for Scott didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

People seeking welfare in the state also must undergo drug testing, according to a measure signed into law yesterday by Scott.

The 1996 Welfare Reform Act gave states authority to test recipients for illegal drug use, according to a fact sheet from the ACLU. Michigan, which was the only state to implement mandatory drug testing before 2008, scrapped its law in 2003 after a U.S. district court judge found it unconstitutional.

--With assistance from Simone Baribeau in Miami. Editors: Mary Romano, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporter on this story: Laurence Viele Davidson in Atlanta at lviele@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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