The Daily Show Tells Florida Legislators: "I Think I’m Gonna Need You to Pee into This Cup"

Last night, The Daily Show featured an interview with ACLU of Florida client Luis Lebron, a single father and full-time student who cares for his disabled mother. Luis, a Navy veteran, took a stand for his constitutional rights after learning the state of Florida wanted to force him to take a drug test before he could receive temporary cash assistance from the state. Fortunately, Florida’s drug testing program for welfare applicants has since been put on hold. Last night’s show highlighted the hypocrisy and unfairness of forcing people in need of assistance to submit to such an invasive search, but not Florida politicians whose salaries also rely on taxpayer dollars.

When Luis found out that in order to qualify for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) he would need to take a drug test, he reached out to the ACLU of Florida for help. He refused to take the test because, as he said, Florida’s drug testing program is “casting a cloud over a population of people with no factual evidence.”

In fact, there is some evidence — but unfortunately for Gov. Rick Scott and other Florida lawmakers pushing this legislation, the evidence flies in the face of their rationale for the program, which was in place for several months before being enjoined by a federal court last October. During that time,only two percent of Florida TANF applicants tested positive for drug use — compared to nine percent of Floridians in the general population that are estimated to use drugs. So not only did Florida pass and implement an unconstitutional law, it passed a law that was a solution in search of a problem, cost the state more money than it saved, and violated the privacy of Floridians who had done nothing wrong. As the Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi quipped last night, “humiliation for the 98 percent that pass is a small price to pay for a program that has saved Floridians negative $200,000.”

State legislatures around the country are now debating similar laws that would require people to pass a drug test before receiving benefits. They would all do well to take a tip from Luis Lebron and the state of Florida: poor people are not criminals, and treating them as such is unconstitutional, unfair and a waste of money.

Take a stand with Luis Lebron today: put a stop to this unfair and unconstitutional targeting of poor people.

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Michel Donaghue

Do they really think poor people can afford drugs?

Anonymous

this is a law with no other function except to humiliate and disempower.

Anonymous

A welfare recipient can afford drugs just like a homeless person can afford alcohol.

Anonymous

I was humiliated and disempowered the other day bc my potential new Boss, who would have given me a J-O-B, to make my own money, asked me to piss in a cup. HOW DARE HE!! That should be against the law of my civil liberties. Im contacting the ACLU and am SUING !!

Thank God the government pays for my food. Otherwise, how else would I be able to pay for my cigarettes!!.

My Own Mother had to take a piss test just to get a job to put food on our table.! the Humanity!! I told her to go get food stamps. she wouldn't have to go thru that!!

Do you really think poor people can afford drugs? Im pretty sure houses get broken into every day of the week - just for the thrill of it!!. Who has ever heard of a flat screen TV being traded for Drugs>?????!! Not me!!

Anonymous

I was humiliated and disempowered the other day bc my potential new Boss, who would have given me a J-O-B, to make my own money, asked me to piss in a cup. HOW DARE HE!! That should be against the law of my civil liberties. Im contacting the ACLU and am SUING !!

Thank God the government pays for my food. Otherwise, how else would I be able to pay for my cigarettes!!.

My Own Mother had to take a piss test just to get a job to put food on our table.! the Humanity!! I told her to go get food stamps. she wouldn't have to go thru that!!

Do you really think poor people can afford drugs? Im pretty sure houses get broken into every day of the week - just for the thrill of it!!. Who has ever heard of a flat screen TV being traded for Drugs>?????!! Not me!!

Anonymous

The funny thing about this article is that this Veteran was subject to a random drug testing program the whole time he was in the Navy and now that he is getting free money he is upset about it. I wish there was a test for nicotine, junk food, recreational activities, and unprotected sex! The follow up article to this program infuriates me. If a person knows that he or she will be drug tested every time they renew there "benefits" I would say yes 98% will pass the test......RANDOM drug testing..

Anonymous

Tell me, where in the Constitution does it declare, "Thou shalt not conduct piss tests on residents"? And what's so humiliating about it? I've done several with the Army. Yeah sometimes there's a guy that's required to watch you, but it's not like he's excited about it either.

Anonymous

@ number 7, you quoting the bible and NOT the contitution, Ass.hole

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