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Arkansas lawmakers weigh drug-testing proposal

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 27, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.

— Arkansas state lawmakers are weighing a proposal that would require people to submit to drug-testing in order to receive unemployment benefits.

Under the bill, new applicants for unemployment benefits would be required to submit to a drug screen while the state would randomly test people who are already receiving benefits.

The bill was filed by Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson. He said the drug testing encourages people receiving benefits to stay drug-free and therefore increase their chances of securing employment.

Another state lawmaker, Democratic Sen. Stephanie Flowers said that such drug-testing would be unconstitutional. She says there’s no reason to assume that people receiving unemployment benefits are illegally using drugs.

Flowers has proposed an amendment to the bill that would require drug-testing for the state’s elected officials and all public employees.

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metalfinisher says... January 27, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.

I totally agree with Mr Hutchenson he has a very valid point! I Totally disagree with the comment of Ms Flowers stateing that its unconstitutional based on the idea that people recieving unemployment benifiets are useing illegal drugs, Please let me say this about that unintelligent remark, I am a self employed business man that provides decorative metal finishes for interiors of aircaft interiors, what i do is considered non safety sensitive, but due to the FAA regulations, I have to be enrolled in a random Drug and Alcohol testing pool at MY expense just to have a job, I also drive a school bus in the mornings and afternoon and am subject to random alcohol / drug testing, Now because i hold these positions wanting to stay employed is it constitutional to me to think that I am suspect of D & A abuse, The jobs i have are a mix of private, federal and state, the benifiet moneys are my tax money, NOTE You cannot get a job at walmart with out a pre employment drug screen, does that me that those applicants are suspect, If a person is going to get state or federal assistance then pull out the cup and fill it to the line !!! I'M JUST SAY'EN

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Drumroll says... January 27, 2013 at 4:36 p.m.

Ok, who'll be getting kickbacks from the drug testing firm?

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whitehsetter says... January 27, 2013 at 4:50 p.m.

I agree in drug testing. but dont limit it just to unemployment benefits. welfare, food stamps all govenment assistiance. everyone of these programs you should be job ready or even if your disabled you should be as much job ready as you can be. Just like anyone who is taking medicine as long as the hmo can verify that its a valid there wont be a problem.

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Jackabbott says... January 27, 2013 at 4:54 p.m.

Any program other than SS and Medicare where you pay the premiums for yourself should require drug testing. Most professional and skilled jobs now require this. Sad but it is necessary or the taxpayers will wind up supporting drug offenders. Then they wind up on Medicad and other governmental programs because they cannot hold a job or have serious health problems. If the addiction cannot be broken then place them in programs and institurions that can aid and handle them. Throwing them on the streets or dishing out money only adds to the problem.

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doakdw says... January 27, 2013 at 5:11 p.m.

Typical democrat. Don't drug test them, just keep giving them taxpayers money. That way they can secure their vote.
Nearly ALL benefits should be cut off before a financial catastrophe happens, if its not too late. ? Cut off all this money we are giving to the white trash, blacks and Mexicans. Its killing us! Nothing good can come from it.

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cindi22202170708 says... January 27, 2013 at 5:37 p.m.

Good for Rep. Flowers. This is unconstitutional. If you don't believe me, search and see what has happened to other tries at this in other states. Being unemployed is NOT probable cause for a search. Criminal behavior is. It matters not what private employers do in regards to testing. The government cannot search without probable cause. It also cost Florida more than it saved, since under 2% of the ones tested tested positive. If you think it's a great idea, then amend the US Constitution to allow it but remember, that means the government will no longer need probable cause to test YOU.

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HalALouyah says... January 27, 2013 at 5:45 p.m.

My gosh if your "character" is insulted by a drug test to get money from our government you are WAY less important than you think you are.

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HotSpringsLawyer says... January 27, 2013 at 6:19 p.m.

Fine, as long as it applies to everyone receiving state funds. Elected officials; members of state commissions and boards; and legislators..We do not ned to be supporting their alcohol or drug habits either.

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LG1 says... January 27, 2013 at 7:09 p.m.

I think it would actually be better to test all welfare users. If they test positive, cut them off. After word gets around that the state is actually cutting off the deadbeats, maybe the rest will clean up. If not, cut them all off. I don't like working to pay for some deadbeats drug habit.

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kwp says... January 27, 2013 at 10:52 p.m.

There is a difference between working for your state funds as employees do and having others work to pay you state funds. Equating unemployment benefits or welfare with a state pay check is illogical!

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