Governor Rick Scott's long list of controversial legislation -- including tweaking the state's pension plans, require drug testing of those on welfare, cutting teachers' pay, and purging voters -- may have cost Florida taxpayers upwards of $1 million in legal bills.
The latest legal bill tallies at $190,000 after a federal court ruled Friday that Florida has to pay the attorney fees as Scott fights for the right to drug test state workers.
The controversial executive order, signed by Scott in March 2011, required random drug screening for all workers on the state payroll at least once every three months.
However last April, a federal judge ruled that such testing violated the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure.
"The Governor can't order the state to search people's bodily fluids for no reason -- the Constitution prohibits that sort of government intrusion," said Howard Simon, director of the Florida ACLU, which sued Scott over the executive order. "And the Governor can’t demand that people surrender their constitutional rights for the privilege of working for the state or receiving some other government benefit."
Scott chose to appeal the decision, commenting "I believe that drug testing state employees is a common sense means of ensuring a safe, efficient and productive workforce."
The Orlando Sentinel found that Scott has already cost taxpayers nearly $900,000 in attorney fees as he fights for his conversational legislation, making this latest legal bill tilt the tally over $1 million.
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