The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has announced an “embarrassing retreat” by Gov. Rick Scott on one of his signature policies. The group released a memo today in which Scott delayed his order requiring state agencies under his control to randomly drug-test their employees, except in the Department of Corrections, where testing will proceed.

Scott’s memo (.pdf), issued the last week, acknowledges the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the policy, and says testing will proceed in the Department of Corrections, which will “permit the legal issue to be resolved.”

“We are pleased that this new order has delayed subjecting thousands of state employees to demeaning, invasive, and illegal tests of their bodily fluids. But it does not change our Constitutional challenge. Any government search without suspicion of drug use or not directly related to public safety is a violation of privacy protections and we will vigorously move ahead with our challenge,” ACLU Legal Director Randall Marshall said in a statement.

Scott said in a post-cabinet press conference that he intends to pursue drug testing for all the employees under his supervision, eventually.

“He is not backing off in his position to drug test state employees,” added spokesman Lane Wright, who said “the memo speaks for itself” as to why Corrections was chosen as the first agency to start testing its employees.

Scott’s original executive order, issued in March, called for state agencies to craft policies for randomly testing employees within 60 days, and gave them another 60 days to notify employees, meaning testing of corrections employees could be on track to start next month.

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