Insuring A Drug Free Workplace For State Employees

Gov. Rick Scott signed executive order (11-58) Tuesday that will require drug testing of many current state employees as well as pre-employment testing for applicants.

“Floridians deserve to know that those in public service, whose salaries are paid with taxpayer dollars, are part of a drug-free workplace,” Scott said. “Just as it is appropriate to screen those seeking taxpayer assistance, it is also appropriate to screen government employees.”

Of course, the ACLU has their shorts in a wad over this. Citing a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in 2004 that random drug testing was unconstitutional, a violation of the Fourth Amendment as considered an unreasonable search.

The ACLU apparently missed the difference between purely random testing and Gov. Scott’s order which requires everyone be tested ‘at least quarterly.’ This order doesn’t apply to every state employee, just current employees in agencies that answer to the governor. Whoever they are.

Aside from the obvious benefits of assuring a drug-free workplace, as opposed to a free-drug workplace, there is a demonstrable economic advantage to such a policy in terms of insurance. Fewer accidents, less loss. All of which the taxpayers pay for.

The reference to taxpayer assistance refers to an initiative by the Scott administration to require those who apply for state benefits to agree to submit to a drug test as a qualification to receiving benefits. That proposal (SB 556) was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

But it’s not for everybody that applies.

The department may only screen an applicant who has been convicted of a drug felony within the prior 3 years and shall continue to screen that individual for 3 years after the date upon which the individual begins receiving temporary cash assistance.

Update 3/25/2011: SB 556 as amended expands the drug screening to . . .

[I]ndividuals who apply for benefits funded by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program; making individuals responsible for bearing the cost of drug testing; requiring certain notice; providing procedures for testing and retesting; providing for notice of local substance abuse programs; providing that, if a parent is deemed ineligible due to failing a drug test, the eligibility of the children is not affected; providing an effective date.

The only exceptions are minors under 18 years old. The PDF of the bill is HERE, and is half the size (4 pages) of the original bill.

Links: Florida Gov. Rick Scott orders random drug testing of state employeesFlorida Senate – 2011 SB 556