Approved bill would drug test some unemployment benefit applican - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Approved bill would drug test some unemployment benefit applicants

Posted: Updated:

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It looks like a bill that would drug test some Texans who receive unemployment will become law.

Senate Bill 21 would require first-time unemployment benefit applicants, who work in occupations that already require drug tests, to undergo screening. The measure would also require that certain applicants answer a questionnaire, meant to determine if they are at risk of abusing drugs. If their answers indicate they are a likely drug user, the Texas Workforce Commission would require a drug test before they could receive benefits.

"It's not everyone. It's those who work in a field where drug testing is a common practice by employers, and where through a profile there is some indication that there might be a concern regarding that," Texas Association of Business President and CEO Bill Hammond explained.

The state House measure, which was already approved by the state Senate, passed with a 104-42 vote.

Hammond said drug abuse keeps some Texans jobless. "We think the testing will result in them being hired more quickly. Actually, they'll be certified as ‘drug-free'. So, those who are on unemployment benefits and are certified ‘drug-free' will, in many cases, go to the top of the list to get hired."

There are a number of options for those failing the test including, taking a retest, enrolling in a treatment program, or reapplying in 30 days. Hammond believes the testing will be an incentive for applicants to stay clean. "Because they know if they abuse drugs and effectively take themselves out of the labor market this will accelerate their return to work, which is a good thing for everybody."

Opponents had argued that not only is there no suggestion that there is a correlation between individuals who lose their jobs and likely drug abuse, but also that the bill would have a negative impact on the families of people who already paid unemployment insurance when they were employed.

The bill will now go to Governor Rick Perry's desk for signature.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • East Texas mother's bond set at $2 million dollars in daughter's death

    East Texas mother's bond set at $2 million dollars in daughter's death

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:30 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:30:22 GMT
    UPDATE: An East Texas mother's bond is now set at $2 million dollars. Stacie Marie Parsons was arraigned in the Henderson Co. jail this morning. She is charged with the capital murder of her 4 year old daughter.More >>
    UPDATE: An East Texas mother's bond is now set at $2 million dollars. Stacie Marie Parsons was arraigned in the Henderson Co. jail this morning. She is charged with the capital murder of her 4 year old daughter.More >>
  • In somber ceremony, Dutch welcome home first remains of MH17 victims

    In somber ceremony, Dutch welcome home first remains of MH17 victims

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:47 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:47:58 GMT
    CNNCNN
    (CNN) -- A lone bugler sounding the traditional military farewell "Last Post" marked the arrival Wednesday in the Netherlands of the first dead from the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.More >>
    (CNN) -- A lone bugler sounding the traditional military farewell "Last Post" marked the arrival Wednesday in the Netherlands of the first dead from the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.More >>
  • Washington family says dog reunited with Texas family belongs to them

    Washington family says dog reunited with Texas family belongs to them

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:25 AM EDT2014-07-23 14:25:07 GMT
    It was a joyous reunion for one family and a devastating loss for another. The Miller family of Tyler lost their beloved Maltese named Reese seven years ago. The little white dog escaped while the Millers were visiting family in Balch Springs.More >>
    It was a joyous reunion for one family and a devastating loss for another. The Miller family of Tyler lost their beloved Maltese named Reese seven years ago. The little white dog escaped while the Millers were visiting family in Balch Springs.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.