greenbuddha Posted October 19, 2013 Report Share Posted October 19, 2013 US MI: State Senate Votes To End Jobless Checks For Drug Users Get Active Subscribe Support Us URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n509/a09.htmlNewshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm Votes: 0 Pubdate: Fri, 18 Oct 2013 Source: Morning Sun (Mt. Pleasant, MI) Copyright: 2013 Associated Press Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.themorningsun.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/3938 STATE SENATE VOTES TO END JOBLESS CHECKS FOR DRUG USERS LANSING ( AP ) - Michigan job seekers who use illegal drugs would be denied unemployment benefits under legislation that moved forward in the state Legislature on Thursday. The Republican-led Senate voted 28-10, almost entirely along party lines, to disqualify people from receiving jobless benefits if they fail a drug test required by a prospective employer or refuse to take the test without good cause. Businesses would not have to notify the state when job applicants fail a drug test or decline to take it. But if companies do pass along the information, applicants not hired because of a failed drug test would lose their checks and possibly have to pay back the state. The proposed law introduced just six weeks ago would be on the books for one year, forcing lawmakers to renew it to keep the restrictions in place. The legislation is expected to receive final approval from the House next week because it is tied to anti-unemployment fraud bills that must be enacted quickly to comply with federal law changes. The GOP-led House approved an earlier version of the package last month. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's office did not respond Thursday on whether he would sign it. Critics called the drug-testing bill a solution in search of a problem and accused Republicans of demonizing certain people to score political points. "If you were really interested in helping people gain employment, you wouldn't kick them and their family off of ( unemployment )," said Sen. Coleman Young II, a Detroit Democrat. "You would offer them drug treatment so they can lead a sober life." But defenders of the legislation said employers who pay taxes to fund the unemployment trust fund should not have to give assistance to undeserving recipients. "It's not politics to me," said Sen. Mark Jansen, a Republican from Kent County's Gaines Township. "The employer has the right to basically say, 'I don't have to pay them if they test positive to drugs. I'm giving them a choice. You want this job. I want you for the job. Don't forget if you don't pass a drug test you're not going to make it and by the way you're going to lose your unemployment.' The employee is ... going to have to come to the realization that you shouldn't be doing drugs. It's illegal. I'm not sure what's wrong with that." Roughly 112,000 Michigan residents are receiving unemployment insurance benefits. The maximum benefit is $362 a week. Recipients get 20 weeks of state benefits and up to another 27 weeks of lower federal benefits. The Senate changed the bill slightly to further clarify that it would affect those who test positive for a controlled substance and lack a "valid, documented prescription" as defined in the public health code. The legislation could leave legal medical marijuana users in limbo because they are "certified" to use the drug by doctors but not prescribed it under the law. "Will the courts have to get involved? Probably," Jansen said. He said he plans to revisit the unemployment fraud issue with followup bills to better tell people up front that they could lose their benefits and be forced to pay improper payments back. Democrats said the legislation would not protect people who are mistakenly given unemployment benefits through no fault of their own and then asked to repay. Opponents have said some states passed laws to mandate that businesses report drug users and make unemployment benefits off limits only to repeal them. "If the policy were applied equally to all who receive public assistance it would be different," said Shelli Weisberg, lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. "A corporation seeking a tax abatement or government subsidy should have their board and CEO subject to a drug test and the same consequences." Two Democrats, Glenn Anderson of Westland and Tupac Hunter of Detroit, switched to join Republicans to approve the bill. Another House-passed measure that would create a pilot program to do suspicion-based drug testing of welfare recipients has been sitting on the Senate floor since June. MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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