Indiana lawmakers consider unemployment, drug use

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Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Unemployed Hoosiers who chose to use illegal drugs while drawing unemployment may be doing so on borrowed time.

One bill moving in the Senate would ask Indiana residents applying for unemployment to declare on their application that they will refrain from illegal drug use that could keep them from getting a job.

"If you check that box it means you have committed perjury if you are a drug user - or illegal drug user," said State Sen. Jean Leising (R).

Sen. Leising's bill does not take away unemployment if the recipient fails a job application drug test, but another proposal in the Indiana House would.

Eyewitness News visited a Work One office to talk with Hoosiers most directly affected.

"It means you are serious about going out and looking for job and you put down there that you are drug free, you should be drug free," said Eric Mason.

"I think it's a good thing. You are out there to work," said Sherri Haag.

Leising says the state can't afford to bankroll illegal drug use by applicants who use that drug use to stay on unemployment.

Not everyone agrees.

"I think what this does is put up another barrier to receiving unemployment benefits for people who are otherwise entitled to them," said Sen. Karen Tallian (D).

Sen. Tallian cast the lone dissenting vote.

"To think that we have got misuse of funds which is further draining the coffers and frustrating people who say why are they allowed to do this?" said Leising.