ATLANTA -- A powerful committee chairman introduced legislation Tuesday to require anyone getting state welfare or unemployment benefits to submit to random drug tests.
Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Savannah, said the employees at his pharmacies and those of most major employers must submit to drug tests.
“Just the possibility, gives people an incentive to stay away from drugs,” said Stephens, chairman of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
One major employer in the Savannah area with openings for welders tested hundreds of applicants, and half were found to be positive for drug use, he said. He speculated that many of those positive applicants were getting unemployment checks and only applied for the job as a way to meet requirements that they prove they were looking for work.
Stephens’ bills, House Bills 697-699, are separate from legislation announced by freshman Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, last month that would require all applicants for welfare or unemployment benefits to pay for their own drug tests before receiving a government check. Often, committee chairmen have more success passing legislation than freshmen.
Stephens also introduced HB 695 that would grant free car tags to military veterans who are partially disabled. Current law only makes the tags available to those who are 100 percent disabled.