Thursday, September 8, 2011

Welfare Drug Law Challenged By ACLU


By Julius Kane

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday In Federal Court on behalf of a Navy veteran who refused to take a drug test. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling the law unconstitutional and filed suit on behalf of Luis Lebron. Lebron, the 35 year old father of one, applied for state assistance to help take care of his son while he finished college. However, Florida's new law requires all welfare recipients or any government assistance to pass a mandatory drug test before they can receive benefits. Lebron felt the law violated his privacy.

Dozens of states have proposed similar laws for welfare recipients however Florida is the only state to pass such a law. Since July, approximately 1,500-2,000 welfare recipients have paid $30-$35 to be tested. According to state records 2.5 tested positive for illegal substances. Recipients are required to pay for the drug test themselves but are reimbursed if the results are negative. In 1999 the state of Michigan passed a similar law aimed at welfare reform but was halted by a judge 5 weeks later. Then eventually ruled unconstitutional. Experts say Florida's new law violates unreasonable searches and will end up the same way. Visit Julius Kane at

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