DWD Secretary Doesn’t Provide Details On Proposal To Drug Test Those On Benefits

Newson Testifies Before Budget Committee

Gateway Technical College (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration won’t offer many details of a plan Walker campaigned on that would require drug testing for recipients of unemployment benefits.

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson told the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee it was too early to say what kinds of drugs people would be tested for. He also offered no details on what kind of treatment they’d receive if they test positive.

Asked repeatedly to elaborate, Newson said the state needed guidance from the federal government first.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“What’s in the budget in terms of what the governor’s proposed is a placeholder as a start to get the program going,” said Newson. “Once we get that guidance, we’ll be able to draft out administrative rules that will be specific to your questions. Until we get that guidance, I can’t answer any of your questions because I don’t know.”

Walker’s budget sets aside a half-million dollars to fund substance abuse treatment for the unemployment insurance program.