AR Lawmakers Consider Drug Testing For Unemployment Benefits

AR Lawmakers Consider Drug Testing For Unemployment Benefits

A bill before the legislature would give the state power to test anyone on state benefits. You must pass to get paid. Anyone who refused or failed would not receive benefits.
CRITTENDEN COUNTY, AR (abc24.com) - An Arkansas state senator wants those receiving unemployment benefits to pass a drug test.

"I think it's a great idea," says Carolyn Ferguson, who's currently getting unemployment.

A bill before the legislature would give the state power to test anyone on state benefits. You must pass to get paid. Anyone who refused or failed would not receive benefits.

"It's crazy," says Westley Pittman. "They need to ban beer before they do drug tests."

The bill proposes tests be given at random twice a month before each pay day.

"Even for regular employees, just once or twice a month at random I think is fair," Ferguson says.

"It's really hard," says William Dobbins. "It's going to make it hard for a lot of people. I mean how do you know you don't have some people who have prescriptions?"

Opponents cite the cost to the state.

"That's just another way of spending money we probably don't have no how," Dobbins says.

Many jobs already drug test. That's both an argument for and against the proposal.

"A lot of times if you hire in with a temporary company or something they drug test you," says Ferguson.

To some the state would be wasting money; others think it would weed out those who can't pass.

"You should drug test," says Rasheed Brown. "You don't want people who do drugs working in your business. I'm for it."

A similar proposal failed in committee two years ago.
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