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Florida Legislator Proposes Drug Testing as a Condition for Receiving Unemployment Benefits

As the number of people laid off and otherwise unemployed in Florida grows, one Florida legislator has proposed to require people to pass a drug test before they can receive unemployment benefits, according to an article at Rawstory.com. The Florida legislator claimed that he is concerned that the unemployment compensation fund is in danger of running out and this would be a way to limit unemployment benefits to those who were intended to receive them.

As the representative for the Drug Policy Alliance points out, the individuals who are seeking unemployment benefits after having lost their jobs have already paid their own money into the system in order to receive these benefits when unemployed. Additionally, when they paid that money for unemployment insurance while employed, they would not have been told that they could only recover their unemployment benefits on the condition that they passed a drug test. The article also raises the question that it is unfair to make people already out of a job to pay for drug tests they were never told they would have to take to receive unemployment benefits.

One other state has tried to require people to undergo drug testing prior to receiving public assistance. However, that policy was successfully challenged in federal court on the grounds that such blanket drug testing was a violation of the individual’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.