Florida Man Sues State for Requiring Drug Test for Welfare
POSTED: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 12:20pm
UPDATED: Sunday, October 9, 2011 - 10:21am
ORLANDO, FL- A Florida father says he's insulted that he has to take a drug test to apply for state aid.
Luis Lebron, 35, is challenging the law, saying that it is unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy.
"I was offended and I felt hurt," Lebron said. "It casts a cloud over many central Floridians who have fallen on tough times."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is representing Lebron in a lawsuit challenging Florida's law that requires new Temporary Assistance for Needy Families applicants to pass a drug test. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law in July.
"It's how we are going to make sure our tax money is spent well," Scott said. "It will create an additional incentive for individuals to stay off drugs and it will be very good for their family."
Lebron said he needs the aid to help care for his 4-year-old son and disabled mother. He's a Navy veteran and student at UCF.
"I served this country and I -- to this day -- I am doing the right things by going to school, taking care of my son and being a model citizen. There's a lot of good people in this world, and the good outweighs the bad," he said.
Since testing began in July, 98 percent of TANF applicants taking the test have passed.
"The state is wasting money. They're having to reimburse 98 percent of the people who've taken this drug test and they're adding cost onto the program," ACLU attorney John Dingfelder said.
Dingfelder said that temporary funds would help Lebron support his family during the next few months before he graduates college in December. Lebron and his attorney will appear before a federal judge in Orlando this month in order to urge her to stop the drugs tests.
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