Drug tests for government assistance?
Controversial bill stirs debate
- Duration 3:18
- Date Mar 9, 2012
Controversial bill stirs debate
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Safe -- -- drug testing the unemployed the Arizona State Senate.
Recently approved a bill that would require those who've been laid off to prove they're not on drugs in order to get benefits so should this type of screening.
Joining me now.
Think Arizona State senators David -- hunt and Ron Gould good morning to both of you.
Good morning morning all right so -- let me start with you because I know you were in favor of this bill tell me a little bit more about it.
Well essentially what it does is to get on an unemployment you have to pass a drug test if you fail that test you can test again in a month.
-- but if -- you don't pass that you can't get on unemployment for six months.
All right David I assume that you were opposed to this bill why.
Well keep my people -- -- qualify for unemployment.
Are on unemployment because they were involuntary terminated for their job if there -- fired for misconduct or for drug use on the job they don't qualify for unemployment benefits to Begin.
So I think it and then the cost to administer administer this program from the state of Arizona standpoint I think the costs of administering the program is -- out outweigh.
Any money that is preventative going to people that are using drugs on unemployment.
Ron what do you think what you say about that would what will be a high percentage of people who will.
Test positive do you have -- with no -- We don't really know at this time but you need to bear in mind that a lot of people get on unemployment even when they're really fired for cause a lot of times they've done something wrong -- job performances -- So they're let go.
But that they end up on unemployment even if the employer protest them being on unemployment and the only way they were really gonna find out how bad drug use is amongst the unemployed is by drug testing them.
And we need to make sure that we protect the fund because everybody pays into that fund.
Yeah exactly I mean there's some very good -- there David I know that when I went for my very first job.
I was in an -- a new relatively innocent twenty years old first thing I did.
-- -- me -- to do it.
Right there there's some players that already require -- with the state of Florida and Indiana have tried similar programs before they were stopped by the courts what they found is less than what one to 2% of the people that were tested.
We're actually using drugs and so talking about a very small percentage them out of that you get for unemployment -- -- the loss in the -- about 240 dollars per week.
But I do so again -- -- -- -- I guess my point is for government jobs I think people have to do this.
I mean what I'm trying to figure out what the downside is maybe we would be helping people who actually have a drug problem.
Well perhaps you don't hear is that money in this bill for -- funding for drug treatment yes but.
What what what the federal government has that is that if we go forward with this legislation.
-- that we could very likely lose our federal money for unemployment so that means.
-- thousands of people in Arizona right you -- on him on unemployment who aren't using drugs.
Are gonna lose that that 200 dollars a week that they need to put money on the table to feed their families and to get back on their feet right it's a very.
Internet and beauty of our federal system is that we have fifty states and we have so -- fifty laboratories on how to run public policy.
And -- federal government needs to give us the freedom so that Arizona can do what's right for Arizona -- I'm not sure that this land up in a lawsuit.
All right got to leave it there -- thanks so much for getting up primarily interesting debate.
Thank you thank you next.