A federal judge in Florida, U.S.A. has temporarily stopped a new law that would have required welfare applicants to pass a drug test before being eligible for their benefits.The lawsuit was filed by a 35-year-old Navy veteran who applied for welfare benefits and refused to take the test.
Judge Scriven stated in her 37-page injunction that the proposed law could violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment prevents people from unfair searches and tests. The proposed drug tests can invade an individual’s privacy by revealing medical facts. Unlike medical records, the results of the drug test are not kept confidential and can be shared with law enforcement, which the Judge not it as ‘troubling’.
Florida is not the first American state to propose drug-testing for welfare applicants, but it is the first to attempt to enact such a law in over a decade. Governor Rick Scott said during his campaign the proposed measure would save the state 77 million. The law was created so taxpayer money isn’t “wasted” on those who use drugs. “Hopefully more people will focus on not using illegal drugs,” said Gov. Scott.
In 1999, Michigan’s similar random drug testing program was halted by order of a judge after just a few weeks. What followed was a long four year of legal struggle which finally resulted in the court ruling the law unconstitutional.