MONTGOMERY -- A Republican lawmaker wants some Alabamians to undergo drug tests before they receive unemployment benefits.
Sen. Jerry Fielding, R-Sylacauga, pre-filed legislation this week requiring the state department of labor "to administer a drug screening program for any person applying for unemployment benefits if he or she works in an occupation designated by the United States Department of Labor as an occupation for which drug screenings are regularly conducted."
The department would pay for the screening.
Fielding wasn't immediately available for comment this afternoon.
In November, 29,001 Alabamians received unemployment benefits totaling about $20 million. Those benefits are largely paid by employers, though some public money is involved.
"For the most part, as far as getting your check if you are laid off, that's from employers paying," said Will Whatley, a department of labor spokesman.
The department didn't have a comment about the proposed legislation.
Texas lawmakers last year passed a law similar to the one Fielding is pitching.
Fielding made headlines last month when he said he'd file a resolution to show support for "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson. Fielding said he stands with many Alabamians who support Robertson, the Associated Press reported. The reality show patriarch made comments last month to GQ magazine that some said were homophobic and racist.
Fielding was elected as a Democrat in 2010, but switched to the Republican Party in 2012.
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Original headline: Lawmaker proposes drug tests for unemployment benefits
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