Nikki Haley: ‘I so want drug testing’ for jobless benefits

By David Edwards
Friday, September 9, 2011 16:15 EDT
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Gov. Nikki Haley (R) told the Lexington Rotary Club Thursday that she wants South Carolinians to undergo drug screenings before they can receive unemployment benefits.

“I so want drug testing,” she said. “I so want it.”

“The problem is that I’ve got to make sure the numbers work… It’s certainly not off the table for me. It’s something that I’ve been wanting since the first day I walked into office, but we do have not make sure it’s not politically popular, it’s actually a good feasible thing to do.”

The South Carolina Republican recalled a story about the high rate of drug test failures at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River National Laboratory.

“Down on River Site, they were hiring a few hundred people, and when we sat down and talked to them — this was back before the campaign — when we sat down and talked to them, they said of everybody they interviewed, half of them failed a drug test, and of the half that was left, of that 50 percent, the other half couldn’t read and write properly,” Haley explained.

But Department of Energy spokesman Jim Giusti told The Huffington Post’s Arthur Delaney that the failure rate was far lower than Haley had claimed.

“Half the people who applied for a job last year or year 2009 did not fail the drug test,” Giusti said. “At the peak of hiring under the Recovery Act, we had less than 1 percent of those hired test positive.”

He added that job applicants are not even tested at the River Site until after they have been hired.

Watch this video from S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, broadcast Sept. 8, 2011.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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