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Unemployment drug testing bill headed to Governor Snyder’s desk


State lawmakers have approved a plan to cut off unemployment benefits if a person fails or refuses to take a drug test as part of a job search.

“They know what the rules are,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Ken Goike (R-Ray Township). “And they have to be willing and able to work. And if you’re going to be doing that, and drug testing is required for your job, and you know it… So, it’s just common sense.”

But opponents of the bill say it’s nothing more than a political statement that serves to stigmatize people on unemployment.

“They wanted to get this passed so the Republicans can go home in their district and say, ‘we’re holding everybody accountable who’s collecting unemployment benefits,’ when, in reality, it’s just smoke and mirrors and nothing more than aimed at the election in 2014,” said state Rep. Jon Switalski (D-Warren).

Critics of the legislation are also concerned that it does not exempt licensed medical marijuana patients.

House Bill 4952 is one of several bills passed Tuesday that seek to crack down on fraud and abuse in the unemployment system. Many of the other changes are meant bring the state in line with new federal unemployment rules.

The legislation now goes to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.