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Drug Testing News
School drug test
measure said unneeded
By Charles E. Beggs, Associated Press Writer
SALEM - A bill authorizing school districts to require drug
tests of teachers and other workers who have contact with
children is unneeded and possibly unconstitutional, a lobbyist
for the state's biggest teachers' union said Tuesday.
Many school districts already require pre-employment drug
tests, and test further when there is a "reasonable suspicion"
that an employee may be using illegal drugs, Laurie Wimmer
Whelan of Oregon Education Association told the House Rules
Under the bill sponsored by Rep. Betsy Close, R-Albany, school
districts could require employees to have drug tests during
routine physical examinations.
Whelan said that provision runs afoul of the constitutional
ban on testing "absent a compelling reason" or suspicions that
an employee is drug-impaired.
Close said she wouldn't object to eliminating the physical
exams provision: "I see this as very limited in scope."
Close said the intent of the bill is to put some standards
into law and to encourage testing if school districts choose
to do so. A few states have passed similar laws, including
Florida and Georgia, she said.
The union also opposes provisions that would attempt to
"superimpose penalties," including suspension or firing for
failing or refusing tests, over the testing terms already in
negotiated contracts, Whelan said.
The measure also would allow state agencies to require drug
tests of employees who are in contact with children as part of
their jobs, such as state child protective and other social
No state officials or union leaders testified on the bill,
which Rep. Dan Doyle, R-Salem, the committee chairman, said
will get another hearing.
Andrea Meyer of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon
said the state agency provision is so broad it could "sweep
in" even the governor or legislators into testing