The old Florida capitol  (Pic via Wikimedia Commons)
The old Florida capitol (Pic via Wikimedia Commons)

Welfare drug tests: Not just for prior convicts anymore

By | 03.23.11 | 5:36 pm

The initial proposal in the Florida House to drug-test recipients of cash assistance applied only to former drug offenders. Under changes approved today as the measure cleared a second committee, the tests would apply to everyone applying for benefits.

Those who test positive would be barred from assistance for one year instead of three, a change sponsor Jimmie Smith, R-Lecanto, said would help allay concerns voiced by Reps. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, and Steven Perman, D-Boca Raton, that the measure would unfairly punish people who are struggling to get back on their feet. People who test positive a second time will be barred for three years.

Under all of the proposals, the people seeking benefits will pay the cost of the tests.

The measure is now more in line with a Senate proposal, which cleared a committee yesterday and drew praise from Gov. Rick Scott.

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