Rick Scott. Hailed as a champion of the conservative movement for passing a bill most Americans can agree with on some basic level- If you receive government aid, you must submit to a drug test. Can’t test for alcohol, but you can test for other illicit substances.
Despite the obvious benefits- forcing those on welfare to prove they aren’t wasting taxpayer money on something illegal that will prevent you from seeking better employment – the Supreme Court has ruled in the past that random testing without cause or suspicion is illegal search and seizure.
And Scott wants to go further with this. Already on possible unconstitutional grounds for wanting to drug test all welfare recipients, he now wants to drug test anyone who’s salary is paid by the state.
Yup. All state employees.
Under Scott’s order, current employees in agencies that answer to the governor, would be subject to periodic random screening. The executive order signed by Scott says the tests would require testing of each employee “at least quarterly.” The random testing of current employees will begin in 60 days under the order.
Effective immediately, any new hires in governor’s agencies would also be subject to pre-hire drug testing under the order.
The ACLU, as well as Florida state employees, are not happy.
“The analysis of urine also tells a lot more about you that is nobody’s business,” including whether an employee is pregnant, or taking heart, diabetes, depression or other medications.
“It is an unnecessary and costly invasion of the basic privacy and dignity of all state workers to force us to submit to tests of our bodily fluids with absolutely no just cause,” Florida state employee Richard Flamm said in this ACLU news release. “For those of us who do our job well, it’s an affront to suggest we may be abusing drugs just because we work for the state.”
A few days before he took office in January, Scott moved his shares in Solantic Corp., a chain of 32 urgent care centers, to the Frances Annette Scott Revocable Trust. Scott co-founded Solantic in 2001 and was involved in its operation until last year. His wife’s trust now holds enough stock in the private company to control it.
Awesome! Capitalism at work. A shining example of the American Dream. The Scott’s have built a $218million investment portfolio through their ventures, and $62million of that is invested in the company Rick himself helped found. He stopped being involved in the company last year, when he succeeded on the GOP platform and became governor of Florida. Getting rich off the company you started, and succeeding in politics, is sure something to be admired.
Let’s circle back to Solantic- the company Scott started and promptly transferred to his wife after becomiing Governor.
HMMM….. I wonder….
Solantic is an Urgent Care Clinic. A chain of low-cost micro-hospitals for mostly non-emergency care and services. Inside Solantic, you can see prices and services posted like the menus at a fast food joint.
Solantic charges $35 for drug tests. The main customers? People who want advance reassurance they will pass an upcoming drug test for work or parole, and worried parents who bring in wayward teens, Bowling said. Customers can have results sent confidentially to their homes, without involving their employer or insurer.
Oh. They just help people who discreetly want to know if they can pass a drug test so they can then cover up whatever is found. Now on to the next topi— wait a second…
Technically, under Florida law, there is no conflict of interest. But building a $62million portfolio of shares in the fast-food-style Florida chain clinic you founded that helps people find out if they can pass a drug test… and then pushing mandatory testing of welfare recipients and government employees? Come on! It’s like he’s pretending there isn’t even a hint of unethical or immoral connections behind the motivations of this push from his administration.
To me, the law makes sense- for obvious reasons to anyone who has lived in a population center of any sorts in the past 15 years. But you can’t ignore the constitutional questions and the precedent-setting standards of requiring people to submit to a drug test without any cause or suspicion. Oh, and another thing you can’t ignore? Results.
Cost of the tests averages about $30. Assuming that 1,000 to 1,500 applicants take the test every month, the state will owe about $28,800-$43,200 monthly in reimbursements to those who test drug-free.
So far, 98% of those tested have passed.
That compares with roughly $32,200-$48,200 the state may save on one month’s worth of rejected applicants.
Net savings to the state: $3,400 to $5,000 annually on one month’s worth of rejected applicants. Over 12 months, the money saved on all rejected applicants would add up to $40,800 to $60,000 for a program that state analysts have predicted will cost $178 million this fiscal year.
Estimated budget of $178,000,000 and 98% of applicants tested so far passed! NINETY EIGHT PERCENT! In a general population drug test of 1000 random people, I’d put my money on 78% or under. 98%? Unprecedented. I wonder if they had any advance notice? ::eyeroll::
Boy, I bet Rick Scott is glad he owns all those clinics to help people prepare for their state drug tests. What a convenient place to be in…