Federal judge strikes down Florida’s welfare drug testing law

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven standing in front of a book case and holding a book

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven

Great news: On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven struck down the Florida law mandating the compulsory drug testing of recipients of cash assistance! The law was truly horrible:

The law took effect in July 2011 and required parents to undergo and pay for urine tests for illegal drugs when they applied for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal-state program that helps poor people with children pay for food, shelter and necessities.

The testing fee of $25 to $45 was to be repaid by the state if the test came back negative, but applicants who tested positive would have been barred from receiving benefits for a year.

The law, which had been temporarily halted four months after it took effect after a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, was a huge failure during its short implementation: it was incredibly costly, and only a very small percentage of applicants were tested positive. This is, of course, to say nothing of how morally corrupt such a policy is, founded on the unsubstantiated claim that welfare recipients use drugs at higher rates than the general population. In Tuesday’s ruling, Judge Scriven permanently halted the law’s enforcement, though Florida Governor Rick Scott plans to appeal.

Policies like this one rely on classist, racist, and sexist narratives such as the myth of the “welfare queen.” Good riddance!

1bfea3e7449eff65a94e2e55a8b7acda-bpfullVerónica would like to drug test the legislators who come up with this shit.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 4, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I hated this law from the beginning. When people are treated like criminals, they will act like criminals. When people are treated with respect, they will respond in kind.

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