Federal Judge Rejects Florida’s New Welfare Law

Assistance recipients will no longer be forced to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits.

Posted: 10/24/2011 04:55 PM EDT
Filed Under Welfare, Florida

Welfare recipients will no longer be forced to abide by Florida’s controversial new law requiring them to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits.


On Monday, Federal Judge Mary Scriven issued a temporary injunction ruling that the law was discriminatory.


The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father who is finishing his college degree.


“I served my country, I’m in school finishing my education and trying to take care of my son,” Lebron said. “It’s insulting and degrading that people think I’m using drugs just because I need a little help to take care of my family while I finish up my education.”


Under the drug testing law, which took effect on July 1, 2011, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) applicants were required to submit and pass a urine test for drug use before receiving assistance. In addition to passing the test, applicants were also required to pay around $30 to $35 to have the test administered, and then wait to be reimbursed by the state if they passed. If their test was positive, the applicant would lose benefits for one year.


According to the ACLU, Florida was the first to enact the law since Michigan tried to over a decade ago.



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