State employees face mandatory drug-testing


State employees will have to face random drug testing after Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill passed during session into law.

HB1205 allows, but does not require, state agencies to randomly test state workers for drugs in the workplace. Heads of state agencies will randomly test 10 percent of their workforce with urine tests every three months.


Within a day of signing the bill, Gov. Scott issued an order for agency heads to refrain from applying the drug test until the court case surrounding the issues were resolved.


“Governor Scott signed the bill because he believes it is the right thing to do,” said Lane Wright, press secretary for the governor. “Just like businesses do every day in the private sector, we, as a state, want to ensure a healthy and productive workforce.”


Lawmakers claim that the law will create a workplace that is free from drug use.


“This bill will create a more positive workplace by allowing agency heads the ability to further expand the already existing drug-free workplace act,” Rep. Jimmie T. Smith (R-Inverness) said.


A previous executive order last summer said that if employees tested positive, then they would face being fired.


After a revision, the bill authorizes people who fail drug tests to undergo employee assistance programs for alcohol and drug rehabilitation.


The amount of money required to conduct tests concerns state employees.


“I definitely think it should be repealed because there is a lot of money that the state is using to distribute these tests,” said a state employee with the Department of Management Services, who wished to remain unnamed in fear of retaliation.


Employees may be required to transfer to a job assignment where he or she can work safely and effectively while participating in programs.


However, the bill does not require state lawmakers to be tested.


“I feel as if a part of my First Amendment rights are being violated,” the employee said. “Before you had to have probable cause to get tested. Now it’s all random and anyone could be tested.”


After passing through the Legislature, the bill landed on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk and was quickly signed on March 19.


The law goes into effect July 1 at the start of the next fiscal year.


Florida A&M employees may be subjected to having a random drug test every 90 days.


“In regards to FAMU, this bill is simply permissive and it would be up to the Board of Governors whether or not to implement a program such as this,” Smith said.