Unemployment drug testing bill fails

A bill in Arkansas that was pushing for welfare drug testing has failed – setting a precedent for the handful of other states that are currently considering similar legislation. The Senate Health, Welfare and Labor Committee killed Senate Bill 157 in a Monday vote. Under the bill, recipients would be randomly tested for methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, with 10% of them being tested at the third and 13th weeks of benefits. But the bill drew opposition from both the Arkansas chapter of the ACLU, for who Holly Dickson testified, and the Arkansas AFLCIO, which was represented by its president, Alan Hughes. Committee Chairman Sen. Percy Malone (D-Arkadelphia) sided with opponents. Bills aimed at drug testing people applying for or receiving government benefits are a perennial in state legislatures, with similar legislation being introduced in more than a dozen states. But they rarely go far because of constitutional problems with suspicion-less drug testing, concerns over the cost of drug testing, and worries that such policies would be counterproductive by hurting the families of those whose benefits would be stopped. What are your thoughts on these concerns? Should drug testing for welfare recipients be a common practice?]]>

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