Bill allowing random drug testing of state employees gets approval

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House and Senate committees Wednesday approved bills that would allow state agencies to conduct random drug testing of employees, reports the News Service of Florida. The bills (HB 1205 and SB 1358) come after Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order last year that required employee drug testing. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a constitutional challenge that has led to the suspension of the executive order. The bills would not require drug testing but would allow random tests every three months. Senate sponsor Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, said the proposal is a matter of public safety. “What this bill effectively does is gives state agencies the same drug testing opportunity that private businesses have all across the land,” Hays said before the Senate Health Regulation Committee approved the measure. But others raised questions about whether the proposal would be an unconstitutional infringement on privacy. “I think this bill is intrusive,” said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood. “It’s invasive.” Earlier in the day, the House Government Operations Subcommittee approved the House version.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.