Senate Says: Okay for States to Drug Test Unemployment Compensation Applicants

Drug Test

Yesterday, the Senate wasted their time arguing over the very pointless H.J.RES 42, which would serve to disapprove of a rule passed with bipartisan support as part of the Department of Labor’s “Federal-State Unemployment Compensation Program; Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 Provision on Establishing Appropriate Occupations for Drug Testing of Unemployment Compensation Applicants”.

Essentially what the 2012 bill did was lay out Federal guidelines for drug testing Unemployment Insurance recipients across all states- and what it allowed was this: states can drug test individuals seeking unemployment insurance either if they were fired on suspicion of drug use OR they held a job prior to the claim that required drug testing as laid out by the Department of Labor (think airline pilots and truck drivers).  Makes sense right?

The disapproval resolution H.J.RES 42 sets out to essentially eliminate any federal guidance, ultimately meaning that if they so choose, States can drug test whoever they damn well please.  Seems like a classic conservative agenda right?  Well here’s the thing- it has been established with precedence in federal courts that suspicionless drug testing is a gross violation of a citizen’s 4th Amendment rights which states

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Via Jurist.org: “On February 26, 2013, a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit preliminarily found in Lebron v. Florida Department of Children and Families that suspicionless drug testing of welfare recipients is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, and that requiring consent to such testing as a condition of receiving welfare violates the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions.”

After this ruling, The Welfare drug testing program put into effect by Florida Governor Rick Scott in 2013 was brought to a swift end.

During the discussion period, Senator Orrin Hatch (R. Utah) stated something along the lines of ‘a requirement of receiving Unemployment Insurance is that you must be ready and willing to work, if you’re doing drugs you aren’t’-  a sentiment which seemed to be shared by each of the Senate Republicans.  Aside from presuming that people who seek Unemployment Insurance must be on drugs or lost their job because of drugs- this stance ignores a main tenant of UI.  Everyone who pays federal income tax pays money into the UI trust find- and thus Unemployment Insurance is an EARNED BENEFIT.

Republicans are essentially trying to deny people benefits that have already been paid for out of their own pockets.  They do all this under the guise of delivering control back to the States- but that is frankly bullshit.  The State doesn’t pay a dime toward UI!  All of the money comes from potential applicants and their former employers through taxes. The state simply administers the program and holds the trust fund.  The only possible explanation as to why why this bill makes sense is that it doesn’t.  Who the hell asked for this?

But its chill, because the disapproval resolution is so poorly thought out and the Senators that passed it are so far up their own asses to realize that states will never be able to drug test people without federal guidelines for fear of being brought to court for violating 4th amendment rights.  The first “suspicionless drug-test” administered would blow up the whole program.

What do we gather from this?

  1. Politicians hate everyday Americans.
  2. Our country is run by a gang of incompetent turds.
  3. We should drug test members of Congress.

 

 

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