Sep 252013

drug test testing unemployment michiganBy Phillip Smith

A bill that would deny unemployment benefits to people who refuse to take drug tests required by employers passed the Republican-dominated Michigan Senate last week and also advanced in the House, being approved by the House Commerce Committee on a 12-4 vote.

The bill, House Bill 4952, moved in the same week Republicans also pressed ahead with another bill aimed at the state’s poorest residents, one requiring food stamp recipients and welfare beneficiaries to participate in community service or other work-related activities or be cut off from assistance. The Republican-led House earlier passed bills that would require drug testing for public assistance and cutting benefits if a child is truant from school.

Democrats and civil libertarians denounced the bills as part of the GOP’s “war on the poor.”

“Wholesale drug testing without suspicion is simply illegal,” said Shelli Weisberg, spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. “If we’re going down the road of drug testing for people who receive benefits, then we better start drug testing legislators.”

Rep. Jon Switalski (D-Warrant) offered an amendment to do just that, but it failed.

“If the majority feels that drug testing for people on the public dole is good policy, then it’s clearly in the interest of good public policy to test all of us on the public dole,” he said. “But this is a bill about the elections in 2014 and nothing else.”

And anti-tax activist Bill McMaster wondered how the drug testing bill would impact the state’s medical marijuana patients.

“It’s somewhat mysterious to me that you’re trying to eliminate the will of the people on the medical marijuana front,” he said. “A good number of people are employed successfully who are using medical marijuana.”

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Abe Gold

    Start a petition drive making drug testing as a condition for jobs and unemployment a felony, NOW!!!

    • Michael Belmares


    • moldy

      It needs to be put back into the bottle. Drug testing should be for only a few in sensitive jobs. Fuck those asshole Republicans, they’re following orders from ALEC and it has to stop. Never vote for one of those slime balls and watch you’re ass when voting for a Democrat too. Get off your ass and vote every time you have a chance otherwise the pigs win. I hate this about our country, it’s time we put pressure on the 1% instead of the other way around.

  • jontomas

    This is simply nonsense when everyone is observing the racheting down of marijuana policy to that of alcohol.
    The prohibition beast makes wild lunges in its death throes.

  • pusbag

    Federal money is federal money. If welfare recipients need to pass a drug test so does everybody that receives federal money. Congressman and any politicians who receive federal pensions, has to be the same rules for all not just the poor.

  • Robert Bilderback

    while im up for welfare recipients being tested not so much the senators and congress … thats their job while welfare recipients dont have to do anything for that money … unless they can’t do any work at all they can climb out of welfare … if you really want to make things fair then foodstamps should only by yeast sugar and other basic ingredients, they then must learn how to make the hotpockets or poptarts from scratch but to go to the store and buy them is a luxury ….. luxury = something one enjoys….. when it comes to enjoyment it should come to those who work for it not some lazy scum sittin on the porch “kickin it w/ dey hommies “