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Perry Signs Drug Testing For Unemployment Law

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Governor Rick Perry has signed a law mandating drug testing for some unemployment benefits recipients.

Employers already hold insurance policies to help laid-off workers survive on weekly payments of $62 to $440. Those fired for cause, including failing an employer-sponsored drug test, don’t qualify.

The changes approved by the Texas House and Senate previously and signed into law by Perry on Friday require workers who lose their jobs to fill out state questionnaires.

Answers considered suspicious lead to drug tests. Anyone failing a test would lose their benefits. But Senate Bill 21 would only require first-time unemployment benefit applicants, who work in occupations that already require drug tests, to undergo screening.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Tommy Williams says it will help maintain a competent workforce.

Democrats, meanwhile, successfully blocked a separate measure that sought to drug-test welfare recipients.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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