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Federal Court Says Florida Drug-Testing Order for State Employees is Unconstitutional

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A federal court has ruled that an executive order by Florida Governor Rick Scott, which would randomly test state workers for drugs, is unconstitutional. The policy constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure, Federal District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled Thursday.

Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered random drug testing for about 80,000 state employees in March 2011. In June, he suspended the order after it was challenged in federal court, The New York Times reports.

Judge Ungaro said there was no evidence of a large-scale drug problem among state employees, and there was no urgent reason to require drug testing.

Governor Scott said in a statement, “As I have repeatedly explained, I believe that drug testing state employees is a common-sense means of ensuring a safe, efficient and productive work force. That is why so many private employers drug test, and why the public and Florida’s taxpayers overwhelmingly support this policy. I respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling and will pursue the case on appeal.”

This year, the Florida legislature passed a bill to allow state workers to undergo random drug tests. The governor signed the bill into law, which is scheduled to take effect in July. The federal court ruling does not affect the law, which is expected to be challenged in a separate lawsuit.

The Florida legislature passed another measure last year, which required welfare applicants to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits. The program was halted after the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sued the state to stop it.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of bobby we
    bobby we / June 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    The STATE is a GOVERNMENT and the GOVERNMENT must abide by the 4th amendment. That simple; so simple Ricky can’t figure it out.

  2. Bill Crane / April 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Working for a government agency does not mean unqualified servitude. You are entering into a contract with the employer to provide services, not to deliver yourself to the political whims and prejudices of the state. Private and public occupations whose on the job performance may present actual risk to the public or other employees (such as drivers or heavy equipment operators) have a different obligation. Gov. Scott is trying to impose a moral standard that has no valid base in reason on state employees and welfare recipients.

  3. Houghton / April 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    If it part of their employment contract it is not unconstitutional; an individual choose to work for the government with that as part of the conditions of employment. They can choose not to accept public employment.

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