Complete coverage of the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature.

Gov. Perry Signs Unemployment Drug Testing Law

Ceremony scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Friday

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    Gov. Rick Perry has signed a law mandating drug testing for some unemployment benefits recipients.

    Employers already hold insurance policies to help laid-off workers survive on weekly payments of $62 to $440. Those fired for cause, including failing an employer-sponsored drug test, don't qualify.

    The changes approved by the Texas House and Senate previously and signed into law by Perry on Friday require workers who lose their jobs to fill out state questionnaires.

    Answers considered suspicious lead to drug tests. Anyone failing would lose their benefits. But only first-time applicants working in occupations that normally require drug tests undergo screening.

    The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Tommy Williams says it will help maintain a competent workforce.

    Democrats, meanwhile, successfully blocked a separate measure that sought to drug-test welfare recipients.