Rep. Pearce explains public assistance criticisms

Posted at: 01/17/2013 9:40 PM
Updated at: 01/17/2013 10:42 PM
By: Danielle Todesco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Congressman Steve Pearce made some bold statements during a joint session of the State Legislature Thursday.

Pearce said employers in his district have told him they can't fill jobs for two reasons.  One problem they have told him is applicants do not want to get off of public assistance.  Pearce said the second problem he hears from employers is that applicants can't pass the drug tests.
Pearce wants a bill that would require all public assistance applicants to take drug tests.

"If you have to be drug screened at work, then drug screen for government benefits and if people are having difficulty, let's cure those problems," Congressman Pearce said.

But Emily Kaltenbach with the New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance said that is a terrible idea.

"Those policies make no sense. Other states have tried this and what they've found is that few people actually failed drug tests that applied for public benefits. And then it creates a huge financial burden on the state to test all of those applicants," Kaltenbach said.

Kaltenbach says a similar law was found unconstitutional in Florida.