Drug Testing Leads to Mass Exodus of Welfare Recipients from Florida-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Social media posts claim that a new law in Florida that requires welfare recipients to undergo drug tests has led to a mass exodus of welfare recipients from the state.
Florida doesn’t require welfare recipients to undergo drug tests, so reports that the law would lead to a mass exodus of welfare recipients from the state are false.
Back in 2011, Florida Gov. Rick Scott followed through on a campaign promise to sign a bill into law that would have required all welfare recipients in Florida to undergo a drug test.
TruthorFiction.com previously reported that the bill had been tripped up by a number of lawsuits. Then, in March 2015, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that he wouldn’t challenge two federal court decisions that found the law unconstitutional. That effectively killed the bill.
After Gov. Scott’s announcement, outdated chain emails and social media posts that claimed the bill would cause a mass exodus of welfare beneficiaries from the state resurfaced. That led many to believe that the bill had just become law, or that a mass exodus of welfare recipients from Florida had already begun.
Even though the effort to drug test welfare recipients stalled in Florida, similar laws are on the books in other states. The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) reported in February 2015 that 12 states (including Florida) had passed legislation about drug screening welfare recipients.
There’s a slight difference between Florida’s stalled law and similar laws on the books in other states, however. Florida’s law would have required all welfare recipients to undergo drug tests. Other states use “suspicion based testing,” which hasn’t been found unconstitutional, according to the NCSL.
In Tennessee, a state that uses suspicion based testing, 16,017 welfare applicants were drug tested in the first six months of the program. Thirty-seven of them tested positive for drugs, and another 81 applicants didn’t complete the application process. Other states are considering similar proposals, the Tennessean reports:
“The proposals have emerged after a federal court ruled Florida’s drug testing law unconstitutional because it required drug testing of every applicant for public assistance, violating protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Most of the new proposals are written to withstand a similar legal challenge and require testing only of individuals suspected of drug abuse. Such ‘suspicion-based’ models rely on initial screenings, similar to the written test required of Tennessee applicants.”