Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Florida's New Drug Test Law

Florida Passes Controversial Drug Test Law

Tuesday, May 31st: Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed into law a bill that requires mandatory drug testing for all library card applicants and owners. The testing would be paid for by the applicant, with reimbusement by the state if no drug use is found.

“While there are certainly legitimate needs for public literacy, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addicts,” Scott said. “This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars.”

The ACLU opposes this new law. According to a spokesman, they say it violates the fourth amendment of the US Constitution, which protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure.

“Once again, this governor has demonstrated his dismissal of both the law and the right of Floridians to personal privacy by signing into law a bill that treats those who borrow books like suspected criminals,” stated Howard Simon, ACLU of Florida's head. “The wasteful program created by this law subjects Floridians who are interested in literacy, to a humiliating search of their urine and body fluids without cause or even suspicion of drug abuse.”


For those that didn't click through to the article, there is no such law. But now there is a law requiring mandatory drug testing for applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The key comparison is that these are both state programs paid for by tax dollars, but no one is ready to jump on the bandwagon for library card drug screening.

People like government programs that help them. Libraries, public roads, etc. are all paid for by tax dollars and promote the public good. And though some may not realize it, welfare programs promote the public good. It is good when single mothers and their children are not thrown out on the streets to starve.

Similarly, it is possible that any person reading this could find themselves in need of state or federal aid at some point. You could lose everything in a hurricane, become a paraplegic in an automobile accident, and end up broke and destitute.

Which society do you want to live in: the one that treats its poor and homeless as suspected criminals and drug addicts, or the one that helps them get out of their poverty?

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