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“Employers have jobs available, but they need skilled workers who can pass a drug test. This rule change means people battling substance use disorders will be able to get the help they need to get healthy and get back into the workforce,” Walker said about the program that many call misguided and a waste of taxpayer’s money.
The governor and lawmakers added the rule to their 2015 budget and sued the federal government for the right to enact the program, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. Wisconsin disputed the Obama administration’s argument that federal law bans the program. A judge, however, dismissed the case because Wisconsin had not implemented the plan. Under the program, those who fail their drug test must undergo treatment or lose their benefits. It’s estimated that the state would screen roughly 68,400 applicants each year and require about 3 percent of them, approximately 2,100 people, to take a drug test. Officials estimate that about 224 of them will fail. The price tag for the program is $867,000 annually. A year ago, Walker sought then President-elect Donald Trump’s approval of the proposed program.
Opponents of the program argue that it has failed in other states where governments spent lots of money but found relatively few drug users. They also point out that the program would face a mountain of litigation even if the Trump administration doesn’t block implementation. If lawmakers fail to object to the renewed program, it will go into effect in the spring, with the first tests by the fall.