A proposed bill in the Wyoming Legislature would allow the state to deny unemployment benefits to people in specific, yet-to-be-announced job categories if they fail drug tests.

House Bill 89 would direct the state to deny unemployment benefits when someone in a job category is fired for failing a drug test. Also, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services would begin a program to drug-test people in the job categories. If they fail, they are cut off.

Reps. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo; David Miller, R-Riverton; and Sen. Ray Peterson, R-Cowley, are the bill’s sponsors.

Madden sponsored the bill as an answer to last year’s legislation that would have required welfare recipients to be drug tested. Last year’s bill prompted lively debate, and ultimately failed because lawmakers thought it required spending a lot of money to catch a small number of drug users.

“It’s along the same lines of that bill we had last year, the welfare one,” Madden said. “I was never really hot on that one because when you get involved in that, you deal with people with little children who suffer.”

Madden’s bill allows people to requalify for unemployment once they pass a drug test.

The exact job categories haven’t been worked out yet. The Middle Class Tax Act of 2013 orders the U.S. Secretary of Labor to compile a list of jobs in which people are regularly drug tested.

The list may include jobs like truck drivers and pilots.

“We are awaiting guidance from the U.S. [Department of Labor] of the list we will be provided of which occupations,” Department of Workforce Services spokeswoman Hayley Douglass said. “But apparently it won’t come out until the spring of 2013.”

HB89, if passed, would go into effect July 1.

If people who use drugs pre-qualify for jobs but fail drug tests, they are wasting employers’ money, Madden said.

“What this bill is designed to do is go as far as you can with the federal standard,” Madden said.

Although the new Workforce Services drug testing program will cost money, Madden believes that by kicking people off unemployment, the state will ultimate save money.

The bill is estimated save the state nearly $1.2 million each in fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“It’s a rough estimate,” Madden said. “So many of these fiscal notes are speculative in nature.”

Dan Neal, executive director of the Equality State Policy Center, said Wyomingites need to take a close look at the bill.

“We’re always concerned when there’s a push to put limits on people’s access to their unemployment,” he said.

Reach state reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at laura.hancock@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.

(17) comments

Grouchy
Grouchy

It's about time. Anyone who is getting handouts from the government should have to undergo blood tests, and if they prove positive the benefits are stopped until such time they come in clean. Two things would happen here if that was implemented One the drug use in the United states would dramatically reduced or Two the amount of monies paid out to the druggies would drastically reduce resulting in available money for other areas of benefits. This includes welfare as well an unemployment. Also college loans could come under the same requirements.

This will never happen though. The state of Wyoming along with the United States believe firmly in entitlements. If they were to stop them then on the next election they would be removed from office. SAD

jmso
jmso

Hey Grouchy, I was with you until you mentioned college loans. Give me a break. If you're getting grades that are good enough to maintain your college loans, I don't think drug use should be a consideration. You pay back loans. Where would the drug testing stop? Could a pot smoker get a home loan? Or a car loan?

stickalose
stickalose

Didn't Ayotollah Scott down in Florida try to do this to benefit his drug testing companies? The ecomonics didn't justify it
Whar about alcoholics? Maybe the legislature could try to address the economy and grow Jobs (remember, Rs?) .

WyoJeff
WyoJeff

Looks like the libs talking points just don't stand the up to the test yet again.

"SALT LAKE CITY — A new state program requiring drug screening for welfare applicants has saved more than $350,000 in its first year, officials said.

Preliminary data show Utah spent more than $30,000 from August 2012 to July 2013 to screen welfare applicants for drug use, but only found 12 people who tested positive.

Supporters of the program are pointing to about 250 people who failed to meet drug screening requirements during the year and were barred from receiving or applying for benefits for three months.

Those people would have otherwise received more than $350,000 in benefits, according to the state Department of Workforce Services, which administers the welfare program and the drug screening."

http://m.deseretnews.com/article/765637435/Utah-officials-say-welfare-drug-tests-save-money.html?ref=http://www.bing.com/search?qs=AS&q=utah+drug+testing+welfare&FORM=BLXBSS&input=2

WhatTha
WhatTha

Handouts?! We PAY taxes for things like unemployment to be available when we are let go of jobs.

Not to mention, this idiot says 'I didn't get involved with the wellfare one because you deal with people that have little children'. Are you effin serious? How is THIS any different then that? ITS NOT. ITS THE SAME THING. Just less racial.

And uh.....Grouchy....Not that hard to pass a drug test, even if you were using drugs. You have to be smarter then the average politician.

brianvmax
brianvmax

I know, we pay into this fund but they call it a "entitlement", same mindset they have with social security.

Cowboy Joe
Cowboy Joe

What about handouts to the businesses and ranches. Grazing allotments, tax credits, tax breaks for businesses, etc...just saying there are lots of folks with their hand in the government pot if it is good for one do it for all...otherwise your just picking on the poor and most vulnerable.

side oiler
side oiler

I have seen way more single mommies on welfare doing dope than I ever did an unemployed man. These leaches get their kicks by having more kids and you and I get to pay for them while they dope it up,and don't someone come back and say it ain't so.

GameOn
GameOn

side oiler, where are you hanging out that you're seeing single mommies on welfare doing dope? I would say you have less and less credibility with each post, but that's not possible. Your hatred of women continues to show. You really need to have those mommy issues evaluated.

side oiler
side oiler

Facts are facts,pal. Most any town in Wyoming has a few bars,if you would wake up and enter one of these establishments sometimes you might just spot one of the reclusive critters. It really isn't very complicated,even for you.

Marnie
Marnie

Handouts from the Government??? What is the matter with you Grouchy? You really believe that the unemployment taxes paid by our employees (yes, I'm an employer, as is my husband) don't actually apply to anything? And just to add a little something here, hubs and I both require drug testing before we hire. So now the schmuck that needs a job can run around doing multiple drug tests just because we like to know that someone watched him pee in a cup? And all for some crap job like fast food???

At a $100.00 a pop don't try to tell me this is going to save us money. Somebody will pay for it and I'm willing to bet it's us.

brianvmax
brianvmax

yep, just got my pay stub and ss taken out is another $70.00 a month this year, plus the gas tax, raising prices on hunting licenses etc.. etc.. when does it end.

Grouchy
Grouchy

Handouts from the government it is. It is the money that employers and employees are taxed to support these programs. Are you so dense that you cannot see if ILLEGAL drug users were denied these benefits that you as an employer pay and I as a employee pay might diminish somewhat. OOPS I forgot that the government would find some use so there would be no reduction.

Why are you so adverse to stopping benefits to illegal drug users?? Do you condone the use of illegal drugs?

As for the $100 you pay for a drug test, is it not worth that to know that you will be hiring a drug free employee?? .

Grouchy
Grouchy

Hey people. It is real simple. If you are not doing illegal drugs the what is there to worry about. And it should include anyone that gets entitlements or loans of the taxpayers money period. Student or not. NOTICE I SAID ILLEGAL DRUGS...............

Pretty simple HUH.

stickalose
stickalose

So this is SUDDENLY a problem? I don't think people on unemployment should be sitting around, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, or going fishing.
Maybe these legislative sessions are running too long, these small govt types are doing busy-work.

WhereisOT
WhereisOT

And yet the "republicans" stand for the right to work for less, for "employers" who "rig" drug tests, done by employers so's the employee will test negative....
"safety departments" who's only purpose is to make sure no negative tests come out...
Accidents from rampant drug use and stupidity and profits over People "mentality" on the Job are off limits...

And big oil gives cash to these "for the corporations" politicians...

So these so called "people" (republicans) will now attack many good hands who refuse to stand up for themselves, who get down on their luck after having worked their guts out for greed driven "employers" for peanuts and fall into substance abuse...

Best start drug testing "judges", How about State employees...Oh thats right, if a substance abusing "employee" of the People, who drives drunk for 25+ years, never gets a ticket, even though All law enforcement agencies know the Truth..
Well that clown will be sent to "treatment" on the taxpayers dime....
Nation wide...seems the majority of republicans share the same inhuman dna...

supercalifragilistic
supercalifragilistic

I would accept this IF and only IF this was under supervision of the employer tests before an employee collects unemployment. Anything else is "policing", in my opinion the victim of a lay off to unnecessary red tape. As families might be hurt by something outside of a failed employer screening prior to collecting due to lay offs.

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