Rick Scott backs renewed attempt to drug test state employees

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

Gov. Rick Scott (Pic via flgov.com)

A bill allowing state agencies to randomly drug test their employees, which was unexpectedly resurrected in the Florida House last week, has the support of Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott was a strong supporter of the state’s last attempt to drug test public employees. That bill, however, landed state officials in court and has been on hold since June 2011. A court in Miami will hear the case this week.

Last week, the newest bill allowing state agencies to randomly drug test their employees failed. However, after the vote, the bill was resurrected through a procedural move by state Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange. It will now continue to move through the Legislature. There is a vote in a House budget committee already scheduled for this afternoon.

During a state Senate governmental oversight and accountability meeting earlier this month, state Sen. Jack Latvala, R- St. Petersburg, mentioned that the bill had strong support from the governor’s office.

Latvala told committee members, “I appreciate Sen. [Alan] Hays and the governor’s office approaching me on this issue.”

A spokesperson tells The Florida Independent today that they governor’s office “is still interested” in the bill and “has met with legislators … to inform them of our position.”

Pamela Burch-Fort, who spoke on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida last week, pleaded with lawmakers to reconsider the bill, or at least postpone voting on it until after the court rules on last year’s drug testing law. She said the bill is similar to the bill that was already halted.

“It is unconstitutional,” Burch-Fort said of the bill. “It violates the Fourth Amendment [and] subjects state employee to suspicionless drug testing.”

During the last committee stop for the bill, where it failed and then was reconsidered, both Democrats and Republican members voiced their concern over the bill’s cost and constitutionality.

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