Florida Legislator Wants Random Drug Tests For The Unemployed

Employers have justified drug tests in the workplace by pointing to such negative effects of drug use as absenteeism and work-related injuries. Now a Florida legislator has proposed that random drug-testing also be applied to those receiving unemployment insurance, justifying it as a way to make state funds go further.

Florida State Senator Michael S. Bennett told Fox News host Steve Doocy on Monday that with the unemployment rate in his recession-battered state running between 10% and 11%, he worries that the Unemployment Trust Fund might be exhausted.

“I wanted to ensure that people who are qualified for unemployment — that the money would be there when they actually go down and get unemployment and that we weren’t supporting the people who were not able to go to work,” Bennett explained. “It was nothing against the people who were using the drugs as much as it was to ensure that the people who needed unemployment, it would be there when they got there.”

Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, which is dedicated to ending the “war on drugs,” responded that “to require someone to pass a drug test to get their unemployment insurance after they’ve been laid off is pretty cruel — and to require them to pay for the test themselves is even more cruel.”

“It’s a pretty degrading process,” Piper went on. “You have to urinate in front of another person. … You have to tell complete strangers if you’re on birth control or Viagra or if you’re suffering from depression.”

“Normal, everyday Americans shouldn’t have to go through that,” insisted Piper. “We’re talking about people who’ve already paid into the unemployment system. They’ve been working hard already, and it’s simply unfair to throw another hurdle to feeding their families.”

“He makes a good argument,” Doocy agreed. “Unemployment insurance is money that people have already paid into the system. Why shouldn’t they get it if they’re laid off?”

“When you file for unemployment,” Bennett replied, “basically you’re saying ‘I’m ready, willing, and — quote — able to go to work. If the person who pays into the unemployment has to pass a drug test … to pay into it, surely the people who are taking out would not object to having to pass the same stringent test. … If you’re not able to go to work because you can’t pass a drug test, why should you draw unemployment?”

“Clearly the people he’s talking about were already capable of working,” Piper commented. “They shouldn’t have to take a drug test to prove something to any one.”

Bennett, who recently proposed freezing the pay of county clerks and commissioners and similar low-level state employees, may be sincere in saying he is only trying to save money. However, according to election disclosure forms, he did receive a $500 donation to his 2006 election campaign from Abbott Laboratories, which provides workplace drug test kits.

This video is from Fox’s Fox & Friends, broadcast Mar. 16, 2009.

– Article from Raw Story on March 16, 2009.




    What’s going on here..Not only are you depriving Americans there(just due)money,your preventing US from paying our utilities,living conditions,food,ness.,personal items,etc…plus what if this person has a family to support also?Revolts have been started for much less than this,I REALLY SUGGEST THIS JKAS GETS HIS GREEDY,CONNIEVING,HEAD OUT FROM BETWEEN HIS LEGS ..AND SHOVES IT UP HIGHER WHERE IT BELONGS…..PEACE AND POT……

  2. Anonymous on

    This is ridiculous, it is bad enough being a medical cannabis patient and worrying about peeing in a cup to get a job. When are we going to get back to being the land of the free again. WTF we as Americans ought to be outraged with all the political crap that is going on. Presidents laughing about prohibition, no that is not cool. I am tired of this he said she said bull___. Lets get together and do something about this!!!! Please this is not even right.

  3. Ghostwolf on

    Is Florida brain dead or what! WAKE UP FLORIDA! Look at what is happening all around the U.S. Get with times, not behind them. You act like your head is stuck in the sand and it’s the 1930’s.

  4. Anonymous on

    As a recently retired 62 year old, I can remember better times. I pissed in a cup one time for a job. It is degrading and should not be a part of the American experience.

    Our populace is amazing to me in that we are so willing to follow like sheep and give up the freedoms that our ancestors fought so hard for. We vote into office people that we know nothing about, especially their hypocrisies. We let them make idiotic laws and then we actually pay the police to make swat-team raids to kill someone who might have one joint (only a slight exaggeration). This marijuana madness must stop. The people need to either vote out these ridiculous politicians or stay home on election day.

    Science is advancing much faster than evolution and our population increase is through the roof. As I see it mankind has only one choice in the matter of our ignorance.

    The answer: Genetic engineering. If we can make our offspring just 5% smarter, maybe we could learn to govern ourselves with a complete separation of church and state and a complete separation of science and fairy tales. In such a world drug testing would not even be talked about.

    This Florida politician should certainly lose his job. He is a throw-back to the dark ages (like the last 8 years).

  5. Skinless Frog on

    This guy needs to lose everything he owns then try to live on unemployment.
    He really freaked me out by how calm and matter of fact he was. The state does not own this money they only administer the fund.
    This is the ultimate example of mission creep. For anybody under 40, when the drug testing started it was for school bus drivers and airline pilots, now you can’t get on your high school debate team without standing in front of some penis inspector to verify that you will be using your own penis to give them their liquid gold. This is hard to beleive that it has come to this.
    The people who should complain the loudest are the non drug users. Have they not been embaressed enough, because I have never heard of a private test, and that means you get the visual inspection like a piece of meat, cattle being inspected to see if your good enough to sweep the floors at your local grocery. When all they want is to milk you and buy votes with your money by dividing us into as many voteing blocks as they can so they can collect from everybody. The DRUG WAR IS LOST! Its time for us to find a new way to deal with drugs, their old way never worked. It’s time to judge us by the content of our character, not the contents of our pee!

  6. lohchief on

    If they insist on this further intrusion into personal lives,then they must include tobacco addiction,and alcohol.You smoke weed,you don’t qualify,you drink alcohol you don’t qualify,you use tobacco products….yup…you don’t qualify.But let’s go further,test for aids,test for hemmroids,test for vision,etc.Why don’t they just take STOOPID to a whole new level?? Fuckin’ people are such assholes once they get some power.

  7. Anonymous on

    For employment related drug testing the sample is given in private. In that case you can just use quick fix.

  8. joe and his six pack on

    The USA has gone from Land of the free to Land of the Pee. I think that Law makers should be also tested and not allowed to consume alcohol during the term in office. Who wants a hung over dictator running amuck in an office of power? They would be easier to bribe when a little nippy under their belt.
    Making stupid laws that are crazy like the one they are trying to pass now. All he is trying to do is save money by disqualifying people who hurt no one. This is discriminating against people who have different recreational differences. This is an illegal search of one’s own body. It just goes to show that the government owns the American people this also proves the USA is not a free Country and if you’re a none violent drug user you have no rights you are a piece of property that the government can force you in to a cage for a victimless action that corporation can make money off your body. Whatever happened to the Constitution it does not exist only for the lying cheating corporations that seem able to destroy lives and get away with and when caught are given a slap on the risk.