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Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Panel removes drug-screening mandate

April 10, 2002

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— Public universities, at the request of Kansas University, were removed Tuesday from a bill that expands the use of pre-employment drug testing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended the bill's approval without an earlier provision that would have affected KU and other regents schools.

Currently, the state conducts pre-employment drug screening for state law officers, adult and juvenile corrections officers, and heads of state agencies, including the governor and employees of the Governor's Office.

The bill would have expanded that screening to all employees with access to state adult and juvenile correctional facilities, parole officers, certain mental health providers and regents staff who "provide clinical, therapeutic or psychological services to the students and staff."

Jon Josserand, an assistant for governmental relations at KU, requested the provision affecting the regents be removed from the bill because he said it was too vague.

Sen. Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said he thought it was unreasonable to require low-ranking staffers in the Governor's Office to take a drug test but not certain regents employees.

"We either ought to do them all or none," he said.

But Schmidt did not protest when the committee removed the provision and then adopted the changed bill on a voice vote. The measure will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. Lana Oleen, a Manhattan Republican, said the issue of pre-employment drug-testing of certain regents employees will be studied by a legislative committee after the current session is completed.

The legislation is HB 2933.

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