Rick Scott’s drug-testing program continues to face legal challenges

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As Gov. Rick Scott continues to fend off legal challenges over the requirement to require drug testing for state employees, opponents are asking a federal judge to exclude drug tests for a range of workers.

In 2011, Scott issued an executive order calling for extensive drug testing, but the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled them unconstitutional, saying the tests could not be justified for most of the 85,000 workers bound by Scott’s policy.

The court sent the case back to a Miami court with instructions to define which workers the state could test, possibly leading to a lengthy and litigious procedure. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up Scott’s appeal.

American Civil Liberties of Union of Florida attorneys filed and injunction Friday on behalf of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, asking for a judgment barring Scott from requiring employee drug tests in 662 agency “class codes” as well as employee subgroups in 254 other class codes.

Jobs that are part of the 662 class codes include Department of Children and Families research assistant, meteorologists at the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Management Services benefits technicians.

According to the filing:

“The Eleventh Circuit in this very case has held that the governor’s across-the-board suspicionless testing program violates the (U.S. Constitution’s) Fourth Amendment in the absence of a specifically demonstrated special need on a job-category-by-category basis. Three years have passed since the commencement of this litigation, and the governor has yet to make any such showing as to these positions.”

Scott’s administration has asserted that drug testing will make sure workplaces are safe, pointing to the general practice in the private sector of drug testing.

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.