Inhofe Votes to Give States Options on Unemployment Drug Testing

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today voted for H.J. Res. 42, a Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution of Disapproval, that blocks a Department of Labor (DOL) rule that limits the occupations for which states may require drug testing for those applying for unemployment benefits. 

The 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act permits states to drug test individuals applying for unemployment benefits who work in occupations that regularly require drug testing. When implementing this law, DOL narrowed its list of occupations that may be subject to drug testing, authorizing drug testing in too few instances. This has limited several states from fully implementing drug testing policies in compliance with the 2012 law.

The CRA Resolution passed the Senate and now goes to the White House for the President’s signature.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma is amongst the states that suffer the most from prescription drug abuse. In just the past 12 years the number of prescription overdose deaths in Oklahoma doubled, reaching 864 in 2014,” Inhofe said. “Drug testing applications for unemployment benefits can help those suffering from substance abuse secure the vital care and treatment they need to re-enter the workforce. This legislation will give Oklahoma more options to address the drug crisis and supplements the many actions it has already taken to curb opioid and other drug abuses.”

Background

  • In July 2016, Inhofe voted for final passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) which addresses the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic by expanding the availability of naloxone, improving prescription drug monitoring programs, developing best practices for pain management of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and shifting resources towards identifying and treating incarcerated people.
  • In March 2016, Inhofe voted for the passage of CARA through the Senate.