As a laid-off airplane mechanic, Alexander Gerada understands how unemployment benefits can be a big help. But out-of-work Kansans who use illegal drugs could soon find themselves cut off.
"I think it's a great thing," Gerada says. "I think if you're given an opportunity to receive your unemployment, you should be good with it."
William Perry is also unemployed and also supports drug testing.
"It would straighten out a lot of people," Perry says.
Senate Bill 149 now moves on to the Kansas House for a vote.
The 30-page bill does not require that everybody receiving benefits be drug tested--only those who state officials suspect may be using. It uses the term "reasonable suspicion." Former addict turned anti-drug crusader David Gilkey says that could lead to profiling, but he says that's just one of the problems with the bill.
"I guarantee if you take away whatever little income they have--trust me--crime is going up, because they are going into survival mode," Gilkey says.
Those who fail a drug test would be able to retain their benefits if they complete a treatment program paid for by the state, and test clean. But Gilkey says it's seldom that simple.
"The people making these laws have to understand, you are talking about people who are addicted," Gilkey adds.
He says this legislation doesn't seem to understand the complexities of addiction.
Click here to read the entire bill.