...I read on Facebook that a new law in Florida requires welfare recipients to get drug tests and, as a result, thousands of welfare recipients have left the state. True or not?
Florida only required welfare recipients to undergo drug tests for four months back in 2011, so reports that the "new" law led to a mass exodus of welfare recipients from the state are false.
Media reports recounted how, on June 1, 2011, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening.
"It's the right thing for taxpayers," CNN and other media quoted Scott as saying after signing the legislation. "It's the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don't want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs."
Under the law, which took effect on July 1, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services was required to conduct the drug tests on adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, media accounts show. The aid recipients would be responsible for the cost of the screening, which they would recoup in their assistance if they qualify. Those who fail the required drug testing may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of their children, the law allowed.
But the measure quickly drew fire.
Shortly after the bill was signed, five Democrats from the state's congressional delegation, including Rep. Corrine Brown, issued a joint statement, calling it "downright unconstitutional."...
A temporary injunction by a federal judge in Orlando temporarily halted the law in October 2011, saying that the law could violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.
While the law was in effect from July 1 through October 2011, it showed few results. State data showed that only 108 out of 4,086 people tested - 2.6 percent - were found to have been using narcotics, the New York Times, CNN and numerous other media reported. State records showed that the requirement cost more money to carry out than it saved.
A ruling in February 2013 from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta affirmed the injunction. That December, a U.S. district judge permanently halted the law.
Scott and the state continued to argue in favor of the law, although their appeals failed. ...