A new Texas law that passed through the state’s legislature will require citizens seeking unemployment benefits to pass a drug screening test before they are allowed to receive the benefits.
Texas governor Rick Perry (R) has been a staunch advocate of the Republican-backed bill, urging lawmakers to pass a drug-screening bill for all people seeking unemployment or welfare benefits.
The state legislators attempted to pass a separate bill for welfare recipients earlier this week, but failed in the state Senate. The bill for unemployment recipients, however, passed with a 104-42 tally.
"The intent of this bill is to help lift people up and help them towards a better way," Republican Brandon Creighton, the author of the bill, said to his fellow legislators on Wednesday, "and at the same time making sure that the unemployment benefits fund is solvent and there to help those that need it the most."
The bill does seem like a practical way of keeping government dollars from getting spent on drugs, but it will still be relatively easy for people to conceal drug use via the written screening. Also, if someone does fail the drug test, they are allowed to enroll in a drug treatment program and still receive benefits.
The bill is now headed to governor to be signed into law.