Florida ACLU celebrates Rick Scott's announcement that he's suspending drug tests for most state agencies

The Tampa Tribune's Catherine Whittenberg reports that Scott is saying that it's no big deal, however, after it was learned earlier on Thursday that he had written a memo last week that he wanted to suspend drug testing until the ACLU case makes its way through the courts.


Does that mean Scott is conceding he might lose the case?


Nope, Scott said today. In fact, the governor suggested that suspending the timeline for all agencies but one is part of the process for moving the policy forward.


“It’s just the process, how we’re doing it,” he said. “As you know, every agency has to do it a little bit differently, so we just decided to go forward with them first.”


The governor reiterated that he thinks his order is legally sound, saying, “the private sector does this all the time. You know - our taxpayers expect our state employees to be productive, and this is exactly what the private sector does. It’s the right thing, and we’re going forward.”


But the Florida ACLU is loving today's news. Executive director Howard Simon:


“This is nothing less than a massive and embarrassing retreat on the part of Governor Scott. Despite his continuing rhetoric, he must now realize that Floridians won’t simply roll over but will stand up and defend our Constitutional rights.


“It’s also ironic that he is now citing cost as a reason for this delay when everyone knew his illegal order was going to cost taxpayers millions of dollars from the start. It’s also inconsistent with the Governor’s previous statements that he will take this challenge to Supreme Court which would expose taxpayers to even more large legal costs to defend his indefensible order.”

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Although the Florida ACLU and progressives have been literally and figuratively high fiving each other today after hearing that Governor Rick Scott has suspended drug testing state workers (with the exception over at the department of Corrections), the governor's office doesn't want their critics to get too smug.

The Legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that would mandate that state workers and those who collect federal welfare benefits submit to urine tests to determine whether they are taking drugs or not. The Florida ACLU then announced they were suing the governor to stop that from happening.

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