Florida House Brings Back Drug Testing
Gov. Rick Scott and Republicans in the Florida legislature haven't learned from their defeat in court. The Florida passed passed HB 1205. The bill would make it mandatory for state workers to submit to a drug
Drug-free Workplaces: Requires drug testing to be conducted within each state agency's appropriation; authorizes agencies within state government to require employees to submit to periodic random drug testing; revises provisions relating to discharging or disciplining certain employees; authorizes agency to refer employee, at employee's expense, to employee assistance program or alcohol & drug rehabilitation program if not discharged; requires employer to transfer employee to job assignment he or she can perform safely & effectively while participating in employee assistance program or alcohol & drug rehabilitation program or place employee on leave status if such position is unavailable; authorizes employee to use accumulated leave credits before being placed on leave without pay; provides that employer remains qualified for insurer rate plan that discounts rates for workers' compensation & employer's liability insurance policies if employer maintains drug-free workplace program that is broader in scope than that provided for by standards & procedures established in act; authorizes public employer to conduct random drug tests of certain employees under specified conditions; provides requirements for public sector employer assigning public sector employee to position other than mandatory-testing position.
Effective Date: July 1, 2012
The Supreme Court ruled, in Skinner v. Railway Lab. Execs Ass'n that state employees can be randonly tested, if public safety is at risk. Otherwise, it is a violation of the Fourth amendment. Florida has tried to test state workers before under Gov. Jeb Bush. Roderick Wenzel took the Department of Juvenile Justice to court. Wenzel objected to being drug-tested by the DJJ. The ACLU represented Wenzel and won. Judge Robert Hinkle found the reasoning to randomly drug test Wenzel laughable.
But as Chandler teachers, this test cannot be met by ordinary public employees , or even high public officials, who work in offices and ought to be sober, but who do not have direct contact with the drug trade, and whose impairment would not pose the kind of public safety risk that attends to operation of a train or other dangerous instrumentality.
Pressed at oral argument to explain just what a drug-using long-range planner might do with his position, the defense in the case came up short. The suggestion was made that the planner could access confidential information on juveniles, learning the identity of a drug offender, and then contact that person or his family and demand drugs, threatening adverse consequences for any failure to go along. The defense offered no evidence that in the real world any such scheme had ever been devised, let alone carried out, even once, in Florida or anywhere else. To call this theory far-fetch would be charitable.
State Rep. Joe Negron is hardly a bleeding heart liberal. Negron sees no need for HB 1205.
“I haven’t been running across drug-addled employees who haven’t been able to do their jobs,” said Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican with a libertarian streak. “I’ve heard no evidence whatsoever why we need it."
Before the unemployment compensation drug testing, signed by Scott, was blocked by the courts, only 2 percent of people applying for unemployment tested positive. The drug testing was actually increasing expenses for the state. The state had to payback unemployment recipients that paid to be tested. Scott never got the magical savings he promised. There really is no evidence that state-wide drug testing is needed.