This last Friday, the Florida Senate approved a bill that will allow state employees to be randomly drug tested - with no prior suspicion needed. It is now awaiting Governor Rick Scott's signature.
The Daily Chronic has the story up, but the gist is this: if signed by Scott, effective July 1, 2012, House Bill 1205 "requires drug testing to be conducted within each state agency's appropriation; authorizes agencies within state government to require employees to submit to periodic random drug testing; revises provisions relating to discharging or disciplining certain employees; authorizes agency to refer employee, at employee's expense, to employee assistance program or alcohol & drug rehabilitation program if not discharged," among other things.
According to The Daily Chronic, the federal courts might have a problem with this, as drug testing falls under a Fourth Amendment-protected search. According to a representative from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the bill will translate into (costly) lawsuits against the state.
The bill was passed on a party line vote of 26-14. One of the few Republicans that opposed it, Senator Joe Negron, said that in his experience, he hasn't seen any evidence that state employees use drugs more frequently than regular citizens.
Senator Maria Sachs says this is "how we lose our liberties," adding that it's another step down the slippery slope toward being a nanny state.
In terms of marijuana, a state struggling to legalize medical marijuana - patients who are already forced to buy their medicine illegally on the black market might also find themselves both sick and out of work.
You can read the text of HB 1205 here.