Florida Gov. Rick Scott defended recent legislation requiring welfare applicants to undergo drug testing and insisted that the state will not “subsidize” anyone’s drug addiction. He claimed this is “the right thing for taxpayers.”

In a feature on CNN Politics, the governor said “It’s not right for taxpayer money to be paying for somebody’s drug addiction. On top of that, this is going to increase personal responsibility, personal accountability. We shouldn’t be subsidizing people’s addiction.”

With the new law, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services will have to conduct drug tests on adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The applicants will shoulder the cost of the tests. To protect the children whose parents may fail the drug test, another individual may be assigned to receive the benefits on behalf of the children. Those who fail the testing will not receive a refund for the test.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has already filed suit against a similar legislation requiring state employees to undergo random drug testing. It is expected that ACLU would also challenge this legislation. Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said “What (Scott) is doing is giving ugly legitimacy to an unfortunate stereotype that has been in this country for a couple of decades — that all welfare recipients are a bunch of drug abusers.”

The new law was signed by Gov. Scott on June 1 and will take effect on July 1.

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