Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rick Scott Drug-Testing Victory Lap

Gov. Rick Scott is excited that people who receive unemployment compensation will have to submit to a drug test. How excited? Scott decided to share the news on his official web site.

Today, I signed HB 353, keeping my promise to require drug screening for welfare recipients.

The bill is designed to increase personal accountability and prevent Florida’s tax dollars from subsidizing drug addiction, while still providing for needy children. Parents failing the required drug test may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of the children.

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

In Rick Scott's world, unemployment compensation is a stimulus program for drug dealers. Perhaps Scott is projecting his racist views on the unemployed. David Yarian was a former employee of Scott's Solantic health care chain. Yarian told Salon.com that Scott practiced discrimination in his hiring practices.

After the attacks on Sept. 11, Yarian says that Scott phoned him and stated that he should be careful not to hire anyone of Middle Eastern descent because they might scare off customers. At the time, Yarian was willing to excuse the directive as part of the collective shock the country was going through.

In November, though, Yarian interviewed a Hispanic man for a supervisory nurse position. "He was great. He had all the qualities and experience I was after," Yarian says. "But he had a slight accent. When Rick found out, he said, 'Nope. All our employees have to be mainstream.'"

Blogger Joy-Ann Reid expresses doubt that Scott sold his Solantic stock. Many progressives (myself included) feared that Scott would financially benefit from Solantic drug-testing public employees and the unemployed. The media reported that Scott sold his shares to Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe. Solantic is listed as part of Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe's portfolio. However, WCA&S have invested in Solantic since 2007. The question is does the S.E.C. have a record of the shares sell?

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