Gov. Rick Scott (right) with Panama City Mayor Scott Clemons (Pic via Facebook)
Gov. Rick Scott (right) with Panama City Mayor Scott Clemons (Pic via Facebook)

ACLU, union sue to stop Scott’s drug-testing policies

By | 06.01.11 | 3:27 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is kicking off what will likely be a litigation-filled summer by supporting a union representing hundreds of thousands of state employees in a lawsuit that challenges drug-testing policies ordered by Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott issued an executive order (.pdf) in March ordering agencies to come up with random drug-testing plans for their employees. They had 60 days to develop the policies, and now have another 60 days to alert employees. The lawsuit, filed in Miami on behalf of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, aims to block the policies before they take effect.

The lawsuit (.pdf) argues that Scott’s order, which calls for random, suspicion-less testing of all employees, violates the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

Lawyers on the case say they’re supported by a mountain of case law. A previous ACLU case found the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice could not fire an employee for refusing to take a random drug test. According to the Palm Beach Post, a spokeswoman for Scott says he believes the policy is legally sound, and is willing to take the fight to the Supreme Court.

ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon said an unprecedented “tsunami of anti-civil liberties legislation” this session, coupled with Scott’s “disregard” for constitutional checks on his power, means the state can expect more legal challenges, on potential issues ranging from election laws to abortion rights. Another of those could come as early as this week.

“We will probably doing more of these quite soon,” he said, but the group can only file so many lawsuits at a time.

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