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Benefits: Do We Really Need To Drug-Test The Unemployed?

The Trump administration has taken the second step to deal with unemployment benefit recipients who use drugs while taking those benefits. According to The Hill, the first step to increase drug testing occurred when Republicans repealed an Obama-era regulation which limited states’ ability to limit drug testing for people who apply for unemployment benefits. They used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) which President Trump signed, repealing the Obama-era regulation. That was only the beginning.

Now the Labor Department is planning to issue a more expansive rule which will redefine what category of jobs will have to submit to regular drug testing for unemployment claims. In a statement, the Labor Department explained, “states no longer have authority to drug test unemployment compensation applicants for whom suitable work is only available in occupations that regularly conduct drug testing for unlawful use of controlled substances.”

There are many liberals who have expressed disagreement with the new Trump administration initiatives. In fact, with the legalization of recreational marijuana use in California, the use of on the job weed smoking, and general illegal pot use by those searching for employment, these new regulations are essential.

House Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), is delighted with the president’s signing of the bill which abolished the Obama-pot leniency rule. He commented, “After five years of battling with the Obama Department of Labor, states like Texas will now be allowed to drug test folks on unemployment to ensure they are job-ready from day one. This is a win for families, workers, job creators, and local economies,” reported Newsweek.

Of course, there are those who support marijuana users and feel they have some right to use the illegal drug, even though that use is strictly prohibited by federal law. Some have even speculated that their right to employment would be abridged if they are forced to take a drug test in order to receive unemployment benefits.

This of course is pure illogical nonsense. Any person receiving state unemployment benefits must make themselves fit for work, which according to Strategic Services on Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation President Doug Holmes, includes passing a drug test according to The Hill. He added, “This is an insurance program, it’s not public assistance.”

The Labor Department plans to release its proposed rule on unemployment benefits drug testing in June. So far, Texas, Mississippi and Wisconsin are the only states which have passed laws to allow drug testing for their unemployment insurance programs.

photo credit: Sleepsold Separately Smokin in the boys room via photopin (license)

Kevin Fobbs

Kevin Fobbs has more than 35 years of wide-ranging experience as a community and tenant organizer, Legal Services outreach program director, public relations consultant, business executive, gubernatorial and presidential appointee, political advisor, widely published writer, and national lecturer. Kevin is co-chair and co-founder of AC-3 (American-Canadian Conservative Coalition) that focuses on issues on both sides of the border between the two countries.