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Bill Would Require Drug Tests For Jobless Benefits

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Blood samples are carried in a laboratory. (credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

Blood samples are carried in a laboratory. (credit: JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (AP) – State lawmakers are considering legislation that would require unemployed Texans to pass a drug test before collecting jobless benefits.

The proposal from Republican Rep. Ken Legler of suburban Houston would deny unemployment dollars to those who fail a drug test.

He said allowing drug-users to collect benefits is stealing from hard-working people who aren’t on drugs.

Texas business owners testifying before a House committee Thursday said they already require pre-employment drug tests for applicants. They said the tests boost confidence that prospective workers are drug-free.

Opponents say the legislation would violate privacy rights and raise constitutional questions.

The Texas chapter of American Federation of Teachers says thousands of teachers facing layoffs because of budget cuts shouldn’t have to be tested for drugs to get unemployment benefits.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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