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Heated Debate Over Drug Testing for Florida's State Employees

10:33 PM, Mar 20, 2012   |    comments
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FLORIDA -- Governor Rick Scott has signed the Drug-Free Workplace Act, which gives state departments the ability to drug test their employees.

It does not mean that every state worker will be drug tested.

Ten percent of any department can be tested every 90 days, but those tested must be chosen at random.

That could add up quickly.

There are more than half a million state workers in Florida and each drug test costs between $10 and $40.

That could be more than $500,000 a year.

So where does that money come from?

There is no funding in the budget for testing, so the departments that elect to test will pay for it out of their existing budget.

Under the new law, a person who tests positive would not automatically lose his or her job.

It could, however, make it easier for that employee to be fired and there is a provision for drug counseling.

The legislation covers most state employees, but lawmakers are not included in that group.

The Senate president and Speaker of the House determine those sorts of rules for their members.

When this bill was first proposed, Comedy Central actually had a little fun with the Governor sending one of their reporters to ask if he would get tested.

The courts might not think it's a laughing matter.

The ACLU has called the legislation an invitation for a lawsuit, and the state's chief attorney said she's ready to defend the statute.

"I would go out on a limb and say we are anticipating litigation on the drug testing," said State Attorney Pam Bondi.

No lawsuits have been filed yet.












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