Drug tests for unemployment benefits approved

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Associated Press

Posted on May 25, 2013 at 5:04 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Workers who lose their jobs would have to clear a drug screening to qualify for unemployment compensation under a proposal approved by the Texas Legislature.

Under current law, employers take out insurance policies to help laid-off workers survive on weekly payments of $62 to $440. Those who are fired for cause, including failing an employer-sponsored drug test, do not qualify.

The changes approved Saturday would require laid-off workers to fill out state questionnaires. Answers considered suspicious would lead to drug tests. Workers who fail would lose their benefits.

Republican Sen. Tommy Williams said the program will help maintain a competent workforce.

Democrats have blocked a separate measure that would have required drug testing for welfare recipients. But the bill targeting unemployed workers will now go to the governor.

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