May 31, 2011
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363-2737 or

The following is a statement from Howard Simon, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, regarding Governor Scott signing HB 353:

“Once again, this governor has demonstrated his dismissal of both the law and the right of Floridians to personal privacy by signing into law a bill that treats those who have lost their jobs like suspected criminals.

“The wasteful program created by this law subjects Floridians who are impacted by the economic downturn, as well as their families, to a humiliating search of their urine and body fluids without cause or even suspicion of drug abuse.

“In 2003, a Federal court determined that forcing those applying for temporary welfare assistance to submit their bodily fluids for a government search violated their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches.

“Surely the governor knew this, and the ACLU testified in the legislature that the bill was a significant and unnecessary invasion of privacy. The new law rests on an ugly stereotype that was disproven by the State’s own earlier experimental drug-testing program.

“Nevertheless, their zeal to score political points on the backs of Florida’s poor once again overrode their duty to uphold the Constitution.

“Searching the bodily fluids of those in need of assistance is a scientifically, fiscally, and constitutionally unsound policy. Today, that unsound policy is Florida law.”

Editors Note: The ACLU of Florida will make an announcement regarding Governor Scott’s Executive Order 11-58 mandating drug testing for state employees tomorrow, June 1st, at 11:00 AM from its Miami headquarters, followed by a conference call for reporters at 12:30 PM. For more information about tomorrow’s events, contact the ACLU of Florida Media Office, (786) 363-2737 or

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2011 Press Releases