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.

Tell us how you feel about Florida's new law. Leave your thought below in the comments section.

Comments News Comments

I get drug tested at my job.....no big deal....if I needed free money I would have no problem at all letting them test me....If you are clean you have nothing to worry about....

Perhaps we should drug test ALL people who receive local, state and federal dollars. Let's apply the standard equally, shall we?

Congress should be required to test before during and after (they receive a government pension for life).

Judges, police, elected official, county commissioners - ANY ONE receiving one red cent of public dollars should be tested frequently for drugs, that would include anyone that receives medicaid and social security as well.

Yah i have to say this vet is wrong in assuming everything should change jus for him.If i give you a sandwich because your starving you better not complain or ask if i have any grey pupoun. If the goverment asks you to jump through this hoop then you better do it...like someone else said, your asking for help and pride has no place when asking for something for free.

So he is willing to change the system to allow thousands of drug users to get free money for more drugs...way to go vet

Dear fhero:

You rush to the conclusion that that "thousands of drug users.." would use the money for drugs. That's a mighty big claim with nothing to support it.

Perhaps you should read the article again. The "vet" is doing this to preserve HIS dignity and 5th amendment rights. After all, how dignified is peeing in a cup? How dignified is it to require that you surrender your 5th amendment right specifically for one and one crime only that you're not guilty of?

Did I feel like my 5th amendment rights were violated when I drug tested to get the job to earn my money? NO!! Most tax payers want to know that we are not supporting some one's drug addiction. Why not pee in a cup? We tax payers have to pee in a cup to hold the job that created the tax dollars to give to the recipient. If we have to prove we are clean to earn it, those who receive the money should be treated the same. Drug testing to receive this free money should be a FEDERAL law.

Dear Feather_Plucker,
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives individuals the right to refuse to answer any questions or make any statements, when to do so would help establish that the person committed a crime or is connected to any criminal activity. He does not have to take the test, he can get off TANF!

The "vet" is an able bodied young man who has chosen to educate himself instead of work. I had to take a drug test to get my jobe he needs to take one to live off my taxes!!

If I had to take a drug test for my job to EARN money then they should drug test anyone looking to get on welfare as well.

Clean, nothing to hide/ So why are you afraid to test? How many tests did you have to take in the military? You are a vet and whining..my vets do not whine..

I think the fact people feel the same way. We're so tired of people free-loading and not improving on their lives by taking drugs.

Isn't the reason the state makes everyone take the drug tests and not individuals is because those individuals can sue for being singled out?

Dear dukelover50:

Your first sentence is incomplete. I'm not sure what you mean to say.

No, it's nothing to do with civil suits, but rather it's a question of morality. The stated intent, if you care to re-read the article, is to provide incentive to stay off of drugs and that it would be good for the family. It is nothing more than moral legislation for low hanging fruit pickers.

Singling out would be better, at least if they could show "reasonable suspicion" THEN "probable cause".

Not sure how they are testing if 98% can pass, they are NOT testing by swab in mouth or hair. I deal with users who beat the urine test constantly and meth is out of your system in 72 hrs so a user always can beat the system without a hair or mouth swab test. I'm 100% for testing and testing CORRECTLY!!!!

Lebron should shut up and take the test if he wants taxpayer money. No more free hand outs. Let the real needy receive them. Pride has no place in asking for handouts.

wow...its free help...it's the least you can do to help regulate people from stealing from the government!! Beggars can't be choosers!!! So if you win or lose, next time think before you bite the hand that feeds you!!!!

I believe this law should be nationwide. If you have nothing to hide, why challenge the law? States waste money if the recipients are taking the welfare funds and purchasing drugs/alcohol with it. The state is safeguarding the state's distribution of the funds and making sure the recipients are not using the money for anything other than taking care of their families. It has nothing to do with human rights, civil rights or any other stereotyping.

Well, he'll just have to get a grip. Lots of things are offensive these days. It is very offensive to give taxpayer's money to drug users and the only way to find out if one is a user is to test them. And it should be regular testing. Not just one time. Yes, he'll have to toughen up.

Dear Happy:

Giving state money to criminals of any strip is offensive. Perhaps you could suggest a test that would ensure that ALL criminals, not just drug users, could be screened. Until an equal standard can be applied to "weed" out criminals, I won't support drug testing.

Dont fail the test and you will be fine....

There are a lot of individuals using state aid, because they spend their money on drugs.

Dont fail the test and you will be fine....

There are a lot of individuals using state aid, because they spend their money on drugs.

Dear emily:

Please define, "a lot". Furthermore, please support your claim with evidence.

Yours truly,


Well I think it is right bc alot of ppl do drugs and collect welfare and how can u get a job to better urself if u are on drugs ...So many ppl made it this way and we have to deal w it..They also need to look more in on ppl household on who is living in the house and some ppl get more help then the ppl that really need it and dont...

Post new Comment