Proposed bill would take unemployment benefits for failed drug tests

A proposed House bill would get rid of unemployment benefits for people who fail drug tests.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Jason Swann was laid off January 30 from his previous job. The Columbia man received good news this week.

"I have been working hard and putting resumes out," Swann said. "I got fortunate and received a job offer Wednesday. So we are doing the background check and all those things. I am supposed to start in two weeks."

One of those checks will include a drug test. While Swann was not unemployed long enough to receive benefits, those who are may lose them if they fail an employer's drug test. That is if a proposed bill in the state House of Representatives passes.

Swann thinks it is a good idea.

"If you have the money and the time to lay around, do whatever and get high, and that time can be better spent looking for a job, then I think it is an abuse of the system. If it is a prescription medication needed for a condition, that is a different story."

The House bill is sponsored by Spartanburg Representative Eddie Tallon. It failed in a House Judiciary Panel Thursday; surprising Republicans. However, the measure is still going to a full committee; despite an unfavorable report. A similar bill was approved by the House last year, despite criticism from Democrats, but it did not make it in the Senate.

Others who did not want to talk on camera say the bill is intrusive, but Swann said passing an employer's drug test is common sense.

"Every job I have ever had since I have been out of college, I had to take a drug test for," Swann said. "If you can't straighten yourself up at least a couple of weeks, you may not need to be working anyway. Maybe you should be getting yourself cleaned up in rehab."

A suggestion he hopes most people will not need.