(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A bill to require drug testing for those receiving unemployment benefits will be heard by a state Senate committee Wednesday.
Senate Bill 86 is sponsored by Senator Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg).
"Many people across Senate District 42 have voiced concerns to me regarding people known to be taking illegal drugs and still drawing unemployment benefits," Leising said. "In a recent conversation with a chamber of commerce in my district, I learned that many employers say job applicants are unqualified to work because they fail required drug tests. I've also had area firefighters and rescue crews tell me that too many residents saved from overdoses are unemployed and collecting benefits from the state."
Leising's bill would require Indiana residents applying for unemployment benefits to state that they will refrain from possessing or using controlled substances without a valid prescription.
Benefit recipients would be subject to "penalty of perjury" if they sign drug-free agreements and are found to be under the influence. According to state code, perjury is a Class D felony, carrying consequences of up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"In employers' eyes as well as many Hoosiers' eyes, there is something wrong with the system if unemployment applicants are able to receive taxpayer money that may, in fact, be used to purchase controlled substances and lead to them being unqualified to work," Leising said. "This is an issue legislators need to review."
The Senate Committee on Pensions and Labor hearing on the bill starts at 9:00 a.m. at the Statehouse.