Unemployment drug-testing law postponed - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Unemployment drug-testing law postponed

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A new drug screening program for some Texans seeking unemployment benefits is scheduled to take effect on February 1st, but there are some hold ups.

The Texas Workforce Commission says the program will be postponed because the US Labor Department has not set the required parameters.

Last year state legislators approved Senate Bill 21, which requires first time applicants from some professions to do a drug test if a screening questionnaire indicates possible drug use.

If the test is positive, a person would not receive benefits for at least a month.

We spoke with state representative Four Price about what is behind the delay.

"Certain occupations will be tested and some will not. What we are waiting on right now is the department of labor to issue their parameters and guidelines so everybody will know which professions, which industries will fall under the umbrella of the new law"

Under this new law only certain occupations will be affected and that is what The Department of Labor is trying to determine.

"if you had to take a drug test for pre employment and then you lost that job and then you apply for unemployment, then you would be subjected to a drug screening and if the screen indicated you need to be tested ... only then would you be tested. And then there are appeals built into the statue.

Price explained why he thinks this law will be a good for Texas and taxpayers.

"There are businesses all over the state that are paying for these unemployment benefits and certainly there are reports that drug use is wide spread, just generally. So I think it help us as a state reduce the cost for taxpayers if these benefits are being abused and paid ... we don't want them to be abused.

Representative Price says right now they do not have a projected date when the law will go into effect.