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Texas Senate passes bill to drug test candidates

school-drug-testingAnyone seeking any office in Texas could be subject to a drug test if a recently approved bill in the Texas Senate becomes law.

The senate approved Senate Bill 19, with a 30-1 vote, which covers a variety of ethics issues. An amendment to that bill, approved 22-9, would require any candidate to take a drug test at the time of their filing, however there would be no consequences for failing the test.

The results would be posted on the website of the Texas Ethics Commission.

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, who was behind the amendment, has supported drug testing for candidates for years. He introduced a bill with that goal in 2013, and even took a drug test of his own before it was considered in a committee hearing. The bill was approved by the committee, but never reached the Senate floor.

Lucio filed a similar bill this year, but it hasn’t received a committee hearing. He offered the idea as an amendment to give it another chance. He said he was pleased that it passed.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

“Last session, this was called a silly bill,” he said. “That really hurt me.”

The amendment would apply to more than just legislators. Anyone seeking public office – candidates for city council, school board or even governor – would have to take the test. The candidate would be responsible for paying for it, and would choose what kind of test to take according to Texas Tribune.

The amendment could still be stripped when the House takes up the measure. But Lucio said he hopes it becomes law. Being drug-free is especially important in Texas, he said, because the state is a major drug corridor in the United States.

“I think whoever serves should have a clear mind,” he said.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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