GOP: Drug Test the Jobless and Unemployed

Legislation calling for drug testing the unemployed, crafted by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is once again gaining momentum.

A state GOP senator in Arkansas has filed legislation that would require the tests for anyone seeking to claim unemployment benefits. Republican lawmakers in Wyoming are considering similar legislation. And Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) is proposing both the jobless and individuals applying for food stamps be tested.

Previous attempts by state legislatures to drug test benefit recipients have so far proven unsuccessful. A federal judge deemed Florida’s program unconstitutional. There was also no evidence of rampant drug use amongst benefit recipients as only 2.6 percent of 4,086 applicants tested positive. In addition, the requirement did not deter individuals from applying for help.

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