The $1.5 million in legal fees, including nearly $1 million to civil-rights lawyers, are because of Gov. Scott’s failed push to force welfare applicants and tens of thousands of state workers to submit to suspicionless drug tests.
Monday’s agreement, which still requires court approval, identified more than 100 job classes that Scott can test for drug or alcohol use. Workers in most of the positions deal with vulnerable children or adults, handle heavy equipment or are already required to undergo medical tests for other reasons.
The ACLU, which filed the challenge on behalf of single father and Navy veteran Luis Lebron, hailed the end of the drawn-out legal battle over the drug tests, an issue Scott campaigned on during his first bid for governor in 2010.
ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon, who blamed the governor and the Legislature for the cost to taxpayers, blasted Scott for refusing to back down as the governor mulls appealing the latest decision calling his ploy unconstitutional.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Florida law pushed by Gov. Rick Scott requiring welfare applicants to submit to drug tests before they can receive benefits.
The governor has not conceded that forcing state employees to undergo urinalysis is unconstitutional despite lower court rulings that spurred the concessions. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year refused to take up the case, but it is believed Scott will again ask the high court to rule on the case if he ultimately loses in lower court proceedings.
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, but various groups blasted the Scott administration for continuing to pursue the drug tests. They pointed to repeated past rulings against such drug testing.
In a harshly worded, 30-page opinion, the judge concluded that “there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied.”
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals declared an executive order by Riock Scott to drug-test 85,000 state employees and all job applicants as mostly unconstitutional, but left room for a lower court decision to be rewritten to allow for certain employees in certain categories to be drug tested–essentially restoring Florida’s drug-testing standard to what it was before the governor’s executive order.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said the state had not shown a “special need” for drug testing applicants to the program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It upheld a preliminary injunction issued in 2011 by U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven.