Perry, Dewhurst speak about welfare reform bill

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by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and Photojournalist DEREK MOORE and KVUE.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on November 13, 2012 at 12:59 PM

AUSTIN -- Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst made a rare appearance to talk about reforms for welfare and unemployment insurance.

Senate Bill No. 11 was filed Monday by State Senator Jane Nelson, a Republican from Flower Mound. The bill would require those applying for welfare to go through a "screening assessment" to decide whether to administer a drug test.Those with a history of drug offenses would be required to pass a test to be eligible for benefits.

The state of Florida recently passed a law requiring tests for anyone applying for welfare. Fewer than three percent failed, leading some to question the efficiency of drug testing requirements.

On Tuesday Governor Perry cited concerns raised by business owners over the number of people who are unhirable because of drug use.

The law would also strengthen work requirements. It would prohibit retailers from accepting money from welfare benefits for items like alcohol, cigarettes, adult entertainment or lottery tickets.

More than 200 bills were filed Monday. So far this is the first one Governor Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst have openly endorsed.

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