It's a bad day for social policymakers in Tally, as Rick Scott's signature "test the welfare deadbeats for drugs" policy initiative takes a blow thanks to MD FL Judge Scriven, who entered an injunction and found the policy unconstitutional.
One big problem, she noted, was that Rick Scott's evidence-free belief that drug use is "much higher" among welfare recipients than the population at large just wasn't true:
However, these stated goals can be found nowhere in the legislation, and with good reason: the State’s commissioned study undercuts each of these rationales as a likely feature of the proposed legislation. As noted, researchers found a lower rate of drug usage among TANF applicants than among current estimates of the population of Florida as a whole.This would suggest that TANF funds are no more likely to be diverted to drug use or used in a manner that would expose children to drugs or fund the “drug epidemic” than funds provided to any other recipient of government benefits. The researchers also found no evidence that TANF recipients who screened and tested positive for the use of illicit substances were any less likely to find work than those who screened and tested negative.The Florida Legislature, in fact, enacted the Section 414.0652 over the express recommendation of its own researchers not to expand the Demonstration Project statewide because it was not shown to meet these goals.
So empirical evidence does not support Rick Scott's personal "belief" about deadbeat welfare drug users, that's not surprising.
But what does it say about the intellectual honesty of a public servant when those "beliefs" are seemingly immutable and his position on this remains unchanged in the face of that evidence?