Perry Signs Bill Requiring Drug Tests For Some Jobless Benefit Recipients

AUSTIN (June 14, 2013)--Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill into law Friday that mandates drug testing for some recipients of unemployment benefits in Texas.

“Our system is designed to provide assistance to people through a difficult time in their lives, not subsidize those who would misuse the system to live a drug-abusing lifestyle,” Perry said.

“This bill protects the resources that should be reserved for those truly in need,” he said.

Employers already hold insurance policies to help laid-off workers survive on weekly payments of $62 to $440, but those who are fired for cause, including failing an employer-sponsored drug test, don't qualify for benefits.

The bill that Perry signed into law Friday requires workers who lose their jobs to fill out state questionnaires.

Answers considered suspicious will trigger the drug tests and anyone who fails them would lose benefits, although only first-time applicants working in occupations that normally require drug tests will undergo screening.

The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, said the law will help maintain a competent workforce.

Democrats, meanwhile, successfully blocked a separate measure that sought to drug-test welfare recipients.

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