The law will go into effect July 1 for new TANF program applicants.
Under the new law, those applying for the public assistance will be responsible for the cost of the drug screening tests. If they qualify for the program, the will recoup the cost of the testing from the program.
Children Can Still Get Benefits
Also, if someone is applying for assistance for children and they fail the test, they can designate another person to receive the benefits on behalf of their children.
In the past, critics of the proposed law said it would punish children for the drug use of their parents. The new law addresses those concerns.
"It's the right thing for taxpayers," Gov. Scott said. "It's the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don't want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs."
Invasion of Privacy?
Still, the new law is not without its critics. Five Democrat lawmakers said the legislation was "downright unconstitutional."
"Governor Scott's new drug testing law is not only an affront to families in need and detrimental to our nation's ongoing economic recovery, it is downright unconstitutional," said Rep. Alcee Hastings. "If Governor Scott wants to drug test recipients of TANF benefits, where does he draw the line? Are families receiving Medicaid, state emergency relief, or educational grants and loans next?"
Rep. Corrine Brown said the tests "represent an extreme and illegal invasion of personal privacy."
Gov. Scott also signed a new law outlawing hallucinogenic designer drugs known as "bath salts" in the state of Florida.
News source: CNN. "Florida Governor Signs Welfare Drug-Screen Measure." June 1, 2011. Related Information: