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- 2014 - January - 15th -

Governor asks Supreme Court to rule on drug tests for workers

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

Arguing that Florida has an “overriding interest in a drug-free workforce," Gov. Rick Scott has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of a drug-testing policy for tens of thousands of state employees.

Lawyers for Scott filed a petition this week asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled against across-the-board drug testing.

In the petition, the Scott administration pointed to the use of drug testing by private employers and said illegal drug use “increases financial costs, creates safety hazards, and impairs productivity.” 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which challenged the constitutionality of the policy, blasted the Scott administration for continuing to pursue the drug tests. They pointed to repeated past rulings against such drug testing.

Since taking office in 2011, Scott has made a high-profile issue of requiring drug tests for state employees and welfare recipients.

But courts have ruled against him on both issues, as opponents have argued that government drug tests violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

It remains unclear whether justices will even decide to hear the case. But in the petition, Scott’s lawyers argued that Florida’s “important interests outweigh public employees’ limited expectation of privacy in this setting.”

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