When it comes to drug testing for those looking for government help, sometimes Governor Rick Perry gets what he wants. And sometimes he doesn’t.
Before this session started in Austin, Governor Perry made his desires clear.
“I’m calling on the Texas Legislature to enact reforms that include authorizing the use of drug screening for TANF and unemployment benefit recipients,” Perry said in November.
But a bill to drug test those on welfare died in Austin. State Representative Sylvester Turner of Houston says that was the right thing to do.
“I’m glad it did not pass. Hopefully it will not pass in any other future sessions,” Turner told KTRH. “I don’t think it was good public policy to presume that people who are low income, poor and in need of governmental assistance are drug users.”
Turner it was about respect and dignity.
“It’s a big win for respecting all people regardless of their social or economic status,” Turner said.
However a bill to test those on unemployment did pass. Turner isn't sure it'll survive in court.
“I don’t think that bill will pass judicial scrutiny. I don’t think the courts will view that bill favorably,” Turner stated.
That bill would require some applicants to complete a written screening and then take another test if any red flags are raised.