It looks like a bill that would drug test some Texans who receive unemployment will become law.
A lawmaker is demanding financial evidence to support a plan for government-sponsored drug-testing of laid-off-workers. The bill came up for debate in a legislative committee on Wednesday morning.
The Texas unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent in November for the third straight monthly decline.
Top Texas republicans are calling for some legal changes to the state’s welfare and unemployment benefit programs. Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst want to require mandatory drug screenings for applicants.
Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, adding to signs that the job market is strengthening.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since early April, a sign that layoffs are easing and hiring may pick up.
RuthAnn Davis, of Dallas, says her year-long search for employment is affecting her emotionally. “I’m depressed. I’m trying to keep an upper hand but you just get so discouraged and then everything comes due and your bills are due, your rent’s due” she says. “Where’s the money to pay them?”
Jobless insurance rates in Texas will increase by about $5 per worker in 2011 for companies paying the minimum state unemployment tax.
There are about 130,000 North Texans currently receiving unemployment benefits. Those will stop for many of these residents, beginning Wednesday.
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