Florida began drug testing parents with young children receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in July 2011. In October a federal court halted the testing saying it likely violated a recipients fourth amendment rights against search and seizure. The state appealed. Now a three judge panel has come to the same conclusion. The case was filed by the ACLU for a young father.
"People who apply for TANF, are just like you and me and there is nothing about them that justifies suspending the normal protections of the fourth amendment," said Maria Kayanan.
The ink had barely dried on the decision before Governor Rick Scott promised an appeal to the US Supreme Court.
"Welfare is for the benefit of the child. That money should make sure it goes to the benefit of the child. It shouldn't go to adult who's using drugs," said Governor Scott.
A final order has yet to be issued in the case.
So far, four judges have told the Governor he doesn't have a snowball's chance of winning.
Juan Simpson is 50 and out of work. We caught up with him at a welfare office. He believes if someone has a history of drug use, then testing might be appropriate otherwise.
"Person that never been arrested never had drug problems or anything, and may need food assistance, I don't think they should be subjected to that," said Simpson.
Before the testing was halted, about 2% were testing positive. That's far below the 8% drug use among the general population.
Judge Barkett stated that the state showed no evidence those applicants who struggle financially and apply for TANF benefits are also more likely to use illegal drugs.