drug testing for welfare recipients when lawmakers approved a bill last week that would require drug testing for some of those seeking unemployment benefits. Under the bill, first-time unemployment applicants who are looking for jobs in fields that require drug testing (e.g. trucking, aviation or hazardous material industries) must undergo a preliminary written screening test. If the test shows that an applicant is likely to be a drug user, that person must then pass a drug test in order to receive their unemployment benefits. Applicants who fail the drug test can either enroll in a drug treatment program, which would make them eligible for unemployment, or reapply for benefits after 30 days. House Republican Brandon Creighton, the bill’s sponsor, claims that the measure will help to ensure that unemployment benefits are available “to help those that need [them] the most,” while encouraging more drug users to seek treatment. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Texas is now the 9th state to pass laws that deal with drug screening and testing for those seeking public assistance, joining Kansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah. Drug testing for welfare applicants and recipients Welfare drug screening laws are a welcome addition for many, who justify such legislation by suggesting that anyone applying for or receiving welfare should not be an exception to the drug screening rules that many employed taxpayers are subjected to. Nonetheless, there will also always be critics. Democratic opponents to this Texas bill say that there is no evidence that those applying for unemployment benefits are any more likely to be drug users. “Losing a job is a very traumatic thing,” Turner said on the House floor, according to Thomson Reuters. “Aren’t we just adding insult to injury in what is a very traumatic situation already?” Whether right or wrong, we have no doubt that more states will follow the path of implementing welfare drug testing legislation in the near future.]]>
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