The legislature’s budget committee has added a drug testing component to Wisconsin’s unemployment compensation program. Lose your job, fail a drug test and lose your benefits for a full year. The Joint Finance Committee also passed a provision that would require a one week waiting period before receiving unemployment benefits. It was all too much for Democratic state Senator Bob Jauch. “Honest to God, if I had a plastic bag I’d put it over my head. The fact of the matter is, the Republicans who vote for this should put a plastic bag over their heads,” said Jauch, calling the action “about as bad as it gets.”
But JFC co-chair, Representative Robin Vos said, hyperbole aside, the waiting period mirrors what other states including Illinois and Minnesota, already have in place, and it does not reduce total benefits. “We’re joining 37 other states including two of our neighbors. People are still going to be able to collect the same number of weeks, they’re going to be able to collect the same benefit, and it’s going to go toward our $1.12 billion deficit,” said Vos. Republican Senator Randy Hopper joined the budget panel’s four Democrats in voting against the measure.