Four days after a new law to drug test certain applicants for state unemployment benefits was set to take effect, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sent President Obama a letter asking for his help in spurring the U.S. Labor Department to develop the necessary rules to let Texas proceed.
"It has been almost two years since Congress passed the federal bill allowing states to drug test unemployment claimants," Dewhurst wrote in the letter, "and your Labor Department has yet to establish even a timeline for the necessary classifications to be implemented at the state level."
Dewhurst told the president that the "inexplicable delays" are affecting the Texas workforce and have the potential of slowing recovery "for those whose addiction would encounter a healthy dose of accountability through the program."
In January, the Texas Workforce Commission said it would not be able to start the program on the state’s timetable because its federal counterparts had not yet set the required parameters. The Labor Department’s regulatory agenda indicates that proposed rules will be published sometime in March.
*Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly reported that the proposed rules would be published March 1. It should have been reported that they would be published sometime in March.