Judge: No drug tests for Florida welfare applicants

ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge has struck down a Florida law requiring applicants for welfare benefits to undergo mandatory drug testing, ruling it was unconstitutional and shouldn’t be enforced.

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven’s 30-page order issued Tuesday made permanent an earlier, temporary ban.

Gov. Rick Scott had backed the drug testing of prospective welfare recipients, arguing it helped protect taxpayers and families. He said in a statement Tuesday that his administration would appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Opponents of the law had argued it was an unconstitutional search and seizure. The judge agreed, writing that there was no pervasive drug problem among applicants for the welfare program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

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