The Center for American Progress recently highlighted what it considers to be the “Top Five Efforts by Conservatives to Make It Harder to Escape Poverty.” Included in this list of “American Dream-killers” is Florida’s controversial law requiring welfare beneficiaries to take a drug test before receiving benefits.
The center recently compiled a list of “what conservative policymakers are proposing to do to those among us who are at the very bottom of the economic ladder” in the past 30 days.
“Conservative policymakers are developing proposals and policies that would help lock Americans living in poverty out of the American Dream,” the groups writes.
Included on the list is the effort by conservatives in Florida to continue to “defend their recently passed law that requires TANF participants to submit to mandatory drug tests that they must pay for.”
“The law ignored state agency findings that drug use was no more prevalent among Florida’s welfare recipients than it was in the population as a whole,” the center writes.
The law was temporarily blocked by a U.S. court in Orlando. However, the state recently filed an appeal to the decision.
According to center:
Unfortunately, some Florida state lawmakers are deciding to spend valuable time and resources feeding the stereotype that welfare recipients are drug users and erecting a new barrier (costly mandatory testing) rather than providing needed assistance. Their efforts represent time taken away from other activities such as reducing Florida’s 10.6 percent unemployment rate, connecting TANF recipients to living wage jobs, or helping those who actually have substance-abuse problems get rehabilitation services.
The challenge to the law was filed by Luis Lebron, a Navy veteran and single father who was denied temporary assistance benefits he was otherwise qualified for because he refused to waive his Fourth Amendment rights and submit to a drug test.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the new law, the measure has voter support in the state.