[r31] Attempt to implement drug testing for unemployment recipients passes committee (2/11/2011)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Start Date: 2/11/2011 All Day
End Date: 2/11/2011
STATEHOUSE- The House Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee  heard State Rep. Kevin Mahan's (R-Hartford City) legislation today to require drug testing for unemployment recipients as a part of the hiring process.

If a recipient of unemployment benefits drug test is found positive, House Bill 1267 would require the prospective employer to consult the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to stop the recipient from receiving further benefits.

Disqualification would also be implemented if the recipient refuses to submit a drug test when asked.

"We are not trying to force people to be 'responsible,' but we don't want to 'reward' bad behavior either," said Rep. Mahan, co-author of HB 1267. "With this legislation, we are simply trying to get rid of the bad actors and make for certain those that are eager to get back to work can. And it's also important to understand that these drug tests are not at random."

Today's committee added one amendment to address the issue of false-positive test results and positive results due to valid medical reasons. The amendment would also provide recipients 72 hours to complete the drug test-which was added in case of family emergencies or inclement Indiana weather.

"This legislation will help Hoosiers get back to work," said Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R-Syracuse), the author of HB 1267. "It reiterates to employers that those individuals receiving unemployment benefits are willing to take all of the necessary steps to rejoin the workforce."

In addition, if a recipient's benefits have been disqualified due to a positive drug test, they may resume receiving benefits with the submission of a negative drug test to the DWD.

House Bill 1267 passed unanimously out of committee and will soon be heard on the House floor for further debate. If signed into law, it will go into effect July 2011.

Organizations that were present in today's committee to show support for the legislation included the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Manufacturers Association and Indiana State AFL-CIO.

To watch committee meetings, floor hearings or find the most up-to-date bill status, visit www.in.gov/legislative.