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Judge blocks Fla. welfare drug-testing law

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Florida's new law that requires welfare applicants to pass a drug test before receiving benefits, saying it may violate the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

Judge Mary Scriven ruled in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 35-year-old Navy veteran and single father who sought the benefits while finishing his college degree, but refused the test. The judge said there was a good chance Luis Lebron would succeed in his challenge to the law based on the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals from being unfairly searched.

The drug test can reveal a host of private medical facts about the individual, Scriven wrote, adding that she found it "troubling" that the drug tests are not kept confidential like medical records. The results can also be shared with law enforcement.

The injunction will stay in place until the judge can hold a full hearing. She didn't say when one would be scheduled.

More than two dozen other states have proposed similar drug testing of applicants. Florida was the first state to do so.

Thirty-two applicants failed the test and more than 7,000 have passed.

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