A state representative is proposing a bill that would prevent people who lose a job because of a failed drug test from receiving unemployment benefits.

Rep. Ken Goike, R-Ray Township said the inspiration for House Bill 5412 came from a story he was told by a relative. Rep. Goike said his brother-in-law is a plant manager in Macomb County and was set to hire 100 employees. Rep. Goike said his brother-in-law told him that half of the applicants couldn't be hired because they failed the drug test necessary to run the equipment.

Rep. Goike

Rep. Goike said he's not requesting everyone who files for unemployment benefits be drug tested. The bill would apply only to people whose job requires drug testing. He said his own trucking and excavating business also requires federally-mandated drug tests to run certain equipment. He said if people fail those tests, they can collect unemployment.

If Rep. Goike's bill passed and someone failed a drug test, they would have to get hired elsewhere, work 18 weeks and then lose that job before being eligible to collect unemployment.

Charles Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said his organization didn’t have an official stance on the bill, but said his own opinion was that it seemed fair.

The state's unemployment law states people have to be actively seeking work to collect benefits.

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"You are not actively seeking work if you are having problems with controlled substances where it shows up at the work place," Owens said, adding that recreational drug use becomes a workplace issue when you fail a mandated drug test that's required for safety.

(Editor's note: Every Saturday, Michigan Capitol Confidential brings you an introductory story about a bill being discussed in committee or presented in the Legislature for a vote. For more information on this bill, its sponsor or comments about the bill, go to www.michiganvotes.org.)

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See also:

Bill Would Require CEOs Get Drug Tested If Company Gets Loans, Grants Or Tax Credits From State

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