Perry, Dewhurst advocate drug tests for welfare - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Perry, Dewhurst advocate drug tests for welfare

Governor Rick Perry and Lt Governor David Dewhurst threw their support behind Senate Bill 11 Tuesday which requires drug testing for welfare and unemployment recipients.

Dewhurst is also a business owner.

"Virtually every business I know does random drug testing because people on drugs are less dependent and put their coworkers at risk," Dewhurst said.

Governor Perry said every dollar counts, now more than ever.

"This would help prevent tax dollars from going into the pockets of drug abusers or drug dealers," Perry added. "Instead, ensure this money goes to the people who truly need it."

With the Austin Glass and Mirror as the backdrop, Perry and Dewhurst said taxpayers shouldn't subsidize or tolerate illegal drug abuse.

One of the owners, Jimmy Bayer, agrees.  He started random drug testing his employees 15 years ago.

"We were liable if our employees were on drugs and got into an accident and didn't do the testing, them some of that liability came back to us."

However, Senate Bill 11 has its critics, like Jim Harrington.

"It's really kind of asinine."

The Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project says the bill would be a waste of taxpayer money.

He points to Florida, a state that passed a similar bill.

"There are very few people who are abusing the system and the amount of money Florida laid out to do that drug testing did not work, it was a failure."

Harrington takes a one step further.

"If you're going to drug test any group that's receiving state money, you should drug test everybody, from the Governor to the legislature, all the way on down."

Under the bill, if a recipient fails a drug test, they can't get help for 12 months unless they undergo a drug treatment program.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there a little more than 104,000 Texans who get cash assistance.

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