Friday, May 6, 2011

Welfare drug test bill heads to Fla. Gov. Scott - Politics Wires - MiamiHerald.com

Welfare drug test bill heads to Fla. Gov. Scott - Politics Wires - MiamiHerald.com

Applying for welfare benefits in Florida? Soon you’ll need to get drug tested.

A measure requiring the tests passed the Senate on Thursday and is headed to Gov. Rick Scott, who called it one of his legislative priorities.

“It’s fair to taxpayers,” Scott said after the vote. “They’re paying the bill. And they’re often drug screened for their jobs. On top of that, it’s good for families. It creates another reason why people will think again before using drugs, which as you know is just a significant issue in our state.”

Scott already signed an executive order requiring random drug testing of state workers.

HB 353 requires all adult recipients of federal cash benefits — the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program — to pay for the tests, which are typically around $35. The screen would be for all controlled substances and applicants would have to disclose any legal prescriptions.

Recipients who test positive for drugs would lose their benefits for a year. If they fail a second time, they lose the benefits for three years. Parents who test positive must designate another adult to receive benefits on behalf of their children.

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