Sign On Letter: Oppose H.J. Res 42; Drug Testing of Unemployment Insurance Applicants

H.J. Res 42 is expected to be on the House floor this week and efforts to expand the ability of states to drug test people filing for unemployment insurance (UI).

The deadline to sign this letter is Monday, February 13, 2017, COB.

Background: In 2012, Congress passed a law allowing states to require drug testing as a condition of receiving unemployment insurance in cases where a person was let go from their last job because of unlawful drug use or cases where a person applying for unemployment insurance who is only available for suitable work in an occupation that regularly conducts drug testing. The 2012 law also instructed the Department of Labor (DOL) to define through regulation what those occupations that regularly drug testing are, and last year, DOL published a final rule limiting those occupations primarily to those with a public safety concern (aviation and railroad workers, jobs that require carrying a firearm etc.) This 2012 law was the result of a bipartisan compromise reached between Republicans managing the underlying legislation who wanted to completely lift this prohibition and Democrats who wanted to maintain the prohibition.  Prior to 2012, federal law had been interpreted to prohibit states from imposing drug testing requirements on unemployment insurance applicants.

Next week, Congress is scheduled to vote on a resolution (H.J. Res 42) that would repeal the newly enacted Department of Labor rule that narrows the application of this 2012 law. The repeal of this rule is seen as a first step by the Republican majority in Congress toward undoing federal restrictions on states conditioning receipt of unemployment and other forms of public assistance on a drug test.  We need to show strong opposition to repeal of the Department of Labor rule and any effort to expand the use of drug testing for public assistance.

To sign: Please email Queen Adesuyi ( with your contact information, organization name, and specifying how you would like the name of your organization to appear at the bottom of the letter.  The deadline to sign this letter is Monday, February 13, 2017, COB.

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