drug tests

The state has spent more than $307,000 in legal costs to defend a law requiring welfare recipients to take drug tests, the News Service of Florida reports. The 2011 law has been found unconstitutional by several courts, the most recent being the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

A federal judge has reduced the punitive damages that a Tampa jury imposed in June on national drug-testing firm Millennium Laboratories after finding that it engaged in unfair competition by breaking anti-kickback laws in Florida and two other states.

But Millennium Labs, based in San Diego, still owes more than $11 million to its rival Ameritox Ltd. after the reduction. In Friday's 29-page order, U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew called Millennium's conduct "fairly reprehensible."

The U.S. Supreme Court will meet privately on Friday to decide  whether it will hear an appeal filed by Gov. Rick Scott on state employee drug testing, the News Service of Florida reports. Scott filed the appeal in January after a lower court threw  out  his executive order that all state employees undergo random urine screens. Opponents of the order say that it violates the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The 11th U.S.

A legislator who sponsored a bill to drug test Florida welfare recipients supports legalizing a strain of medical marijuana.  Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Lecanto, wrote that he will support a measure to legalize “Charlotte’s Web,” an oil form of marijuana found to help treat children with severe seizures, the Bradenton Herald reports. 

After getting no traction with the federal appeals court in Atlanta, Gov. Rick Scott says he intends to take drug-testing for welfare applicants all the way to the top, to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Palm Beach Post reports.