Governor Perry today signed a bill which requires some recipients of unemployment compensation to first pas a drug test before they can receive cash assistance, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  "Recipients of unemployment benefits have a responsibility to be prepared to work when an opportunity presents itself," Perry said.  "Our system is designed to provide assistance to people through a difficult time in their lives, not subsidize those who would misuse the system to live a drug-abusing lifestyle.  This bill protects the resources that should be reserved for those truly in need."


  The bill requires workers who are in professions where drug tests are routinely required, from truck drivers to nurses, to first fill out a questionnaire.  If the answers to the questionnaire indicate a 'propensity for drug use,' then that person will have to undergo drug testing before receiving benefits.


  "Many business owners have told me that they have available jobs but simply can't find workers to pass their company's drug test," said State Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), the sponsor of the bill.


  Democrats fought the measure, and managed to strip out language that would have extended drug testing to all recipients of cash benefits from the state, including welfare, food stamps, and Aid to Families with Dependant Children.