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Texas Lawmakers Consider Bill to Drug Test Unemployment Applicants

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A proposal to drug test applicants for welfare and unemployment benefits is meeting little resistance so far in the Texas Legislature.

The Senate Committee on Economic Development has scheduled a hearing on the measure for Wednesday (March 13) morning. Governor Rick Perry has called for drug screening of applicants for welfare and unemployment insurance programs.

Republican Sen. Jane Nelson has filed a bill that would impose drug testing on applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

Republican Sen. Tommy Williams has a bill that focuses on unemployment insurance applicants who are looking for work in industries that usually conduct drug tests on new employees — such as transportation. He says it would ensure recipients of the benefits are drug free, on a path to self-sufficiency, and ready to work.

Failing a drug drug test would mean four weeks off the benefits before the applicant would be allowed to take a new test.

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