On the one hand, mass drug testing laws are inherently evil and unconstitutional. But on the other, required screening for the same elected officials who keep trying to force drug tests on welfare recipients and minimum wage-earning state employees would be beautifully ironic -- especially in the wake of one Republican lawmaker getting popped for cocaine.
That's exactly what one lawmaker in Tallahassee is trying to do with a bill that would require every elected official in the Sunshine State to pee in a cup before taking office.
HB 1437, called the Drug Free Public Officers Act, would force any official who tests positive to enroll in a treatment program. Anyone who refused to take the test would be barred from taking office.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Dane Eagle, says he was inspired by the travails of U.S. House Rep. Trey Radel, a Republican from Fort Myers who resigned in January after pleading guilty to cocaine possession charges in D.C.
"I ran for class president at Bishop Verot High School and I was drug tested. I worked at Walgreens ... and I was drug tested," Eagle, a Republican from Cape Coral, tells the Naples Daily News. "So I was surprised, now that I represent 160,000 people in the Florida House of Representatives, that I'm not."
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Eagle's certainly right to point out the hypocrisy of state lawmakers who demand mass drug tests for workers while skirting them as elected officials.
Unfortunately, his bill would take all the fun out of the measure by keeping positive tests anonymous. That provision would probably run afoul of Florida's strict open records laws, experts tell the Naples Daily News, while the bill's demands to test federal officials are probably unconstitutional.
The bill was referred to the Government Operations Subcommittee last week and awaits a hearing there.