Judge Rules Fla. Drug-Testing of Welfare Recipients Unconstitutional

State vows to appeal


A federal judge Tuesday ruled a 2011 law that requires those seeking welfare benefits to take a drug test is "unconstitutional," a decision Gov. Rick Scott immediately said the state would appeal.

From the outset, supporters of the law have faced a skeptical judiciary.

Two months after the drug tests became law, they were challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida on behalf of Luis Lebron, a 35-year-old veteran and single father who refused to submit to a drug test when applying for welfare benefits.

In Oct. 2011, a separate judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the state from enforcing the law. The state unsuccessfully appealed that ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The latest ruling, from the U.S. District Court in Orlando, permanently prohibited the state from enforcing the law.