ACLU Files Suit Over Welfare Drug Tests

Group challenges Florida law that requires testing for welfare applicants

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has filed a lawsuit challenging a new state law that requires welfare recipients to undergo drug testing.

    The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court on behalf of 35-year-old Orlando resident Luis Lebron, a Navy veteran and single father who applied for assistance in July to support his 4-year-old son, the ACLU said in a statement issued Wednesday.

    "He meets all the criteria for assistance but has refused to waive his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and submit to the newly required drug test," the statement said.

    The law, which was signed by Gov. Rick Scott and took effect in July, requires welfare applicants to pass a urine test before receiving assistance. Anyone who fails the test loses their benefits for one year.

    "This law violates more than the rights guaranteed by our Constitution – it violates basic American dignity and fairness by assuming that everyone who needs help is a lazy drug abuser," said Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLUFL. "Ugly, disproven stereotypes make bad laws."