The law was one of Scott's campaign promises. Supporters say it will help ensure that taxpayer money is used to get families on their feet and not to fuel drug habits at state expense.
"While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction," Scott said in a statement released after he signed the bill during a visit to Panama City.
"This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars."
Beginning July 1, recipients who test positive for drugs would be denied benefits for a year. A second failed test would result in a three-year ban.
In two-parent households, both adults would be tested. Benefits to children could be awarded to a third-party recipient, who must also pass a drug screen.The same logic used by Governor Scott and his supporters to justify requiring welfare recipients to take drug tests also applies to any other person who receives any form of government subsidy, benefit, or assistance too. Should there also be a law requiring executives at companies that receive subsidies, tax benefits and other forms of corporate welfare to be tested for illegal drug use? What about requiring any politician who receives matching campaign funds to be tested for illegal drug use, too? Perhaps, there should be a law requiring taxpayers to be tested for illegal drug use before they can receive any tax credits or before they can itemize deductions on their tax returns?
As a just society, should we be careful not to selectively target our moral outrage on one specific group of people? Illegal drug use is not restricted to only poor people receiving government assistance. Think about how the same logic behind Florida's law can be used to ultimately require every single American to be subjected to such drug testing.
My point is that it is hypocritical to apply the logic behind the Florida law to only some of the people receiving government assistance. Should every American receiving any kind of government assistance be required to take drug tests? Further, we have to decide as a just society how far we are willing to go to stamp out illegal behavior before we become like the totalitarian societies that we despise. Tough choices.
Sam E. Antar
I am a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the criminal CFO of Crazy Eddie, I helped my cousin Eddie Antar and other members of his family mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980's.
There is a saying, "It takes one to know one." Today, I work very closely with the FBI, IRS, SEC, Justice Department, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies in training them to identify and catch white-collar criminals. Often, I refer cases to them as an independent whistleblower. I teach about white-collar crime for professional organizations, businesses, and colleges and universities.
I am a registered Democrat in New York. My views on white-collar crime have been sought by all sides of the political spectrum. I have appeared on diverse media outlets such as CNBC, Fox News, National Progressive Radio, Russia Today, National Public Radio, Reuters, and many others. In August 2009, I advised the New Jersey State Assembly Republican Policy Committee about white-collar crime and corruption as an expert witness.