Photo: State Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings
In Santa Fe, one New Mexico lawman is proposing that anyone wishing to receive unemployment benefits be required to take drug tests before receiving checks.
Not only is Tim Jennings, the state Senate President Pro Tempore, asking for the drug tests, he is also asking that those seeking unemployment aid pay for the tests themselves.
The proposal know as SB 263 would require a negative test to receive the benefits, and if for any reason the applicant fails, they would be given drug-rehabilitation information, and be told to wait another 26 weeks before applying/testing again.
Gov. Susana Martinez has already said she “likes the idea” and will review the costs associated with the bill and its implementation.
The ACLU-New Mexico says the proposal brings about “the obvious Fourth Amendment issue of requiring someone to submit to a pretty intrusive search as a precondition of receiving a benefit to which they are entitled.”
In 2003, the ACLU-Michigan fought and won against a similar bill.
Currently, no state requires drug testing to receive any kind of public assistance, though at least another 16 states are considering the measure.
As of November, New Mexico’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent.