ACLU awaits challenge of a Florida law that requires welfare applicants to take a drug test

09/30/11 Janelle Irwin
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is awaiting ruling on whether or not drug testing welfare recipients is constitutional. The law that took effect in July is being challenged by a single father who refused to subject himself to an unwarranted drug test.

Louis Lebron is a 35-year-old UCF student and single father. He is also the sole caregiver to his mother who has a disability. And he’s a veteran of the Navy. When he was told he would have to take and pass a drug test in order to receive cash assistance, Lebron chose to fight for his constitutional rights, even though it meant forfeiting the help from the state. ACLU spokesperson Baylor Johnson, said they hope to attain class action status in this suit.

“The ACLU believes that the constitution protects everyone, even the poor. These searches are based on no suspicion of criminal conduct. It’s a suspicionless search which is a violation of the fourth amendment of the constitution which protects people against suspicionless searches.”

On Monday, a judge in Orlando gave the state 14 days to respond to the request for the case to gain class action status. The ruling as to the constitutionality of the law could come any day.

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