Drug Policy Legislation

HB 394 – Drug Testing for Unemployment Compensation (2015-2016)

Link to Bill:

Read our November 24, 2015 testimony in opposition to HB 394.

This legislation makes significant changes to Ohio’s unemployment compensation system, including drug testing under certain circumstances.

Under HB 394, any person applying for unemployment benefits would have to take a drug test if:
The director of the Department of Job and Family Services suspects the person has been illegally using drugs and either
1) The person was fired from their last job for illegal drug use OR
2) The person is only suitable for work in a field that the U.S. Department of Labor has determined regularly performs drug tests.

Primary Sponsors:
Insurance (H)
LSC Legislation Status:
Jurisdiction/Legislation Level:
Our take on this bill:

As a civil liberties organization, the ACLU of Ohio opposes sections of this bill that create an unnecessary and possibly unconstitutional drug-testing scheme.

There are many problems with the drug testing requirements in this bill.

1) Ohioans are already denied unemployment benefits if they were fired for “just cause” and illegal drug use is surely included among factors defined as just cause. This is a wholly unnecessary part of the bill.

2) HB 394 gives people zero opportunity to appeal positive drug tests. It also does not allow future tests if someone successfully completes treatment for drug addiction.

3) Ohio currently does not have nearly enough drug treatment options to satisfy demand. Punishing those who wish to improve their situations but cannot because of a lack of resources or options is to knowingly set them and their families up for failure.

4) This bill perpetuates the ongoing and misguided responses to serious drug problems. So-called solutions that focus almost exclusively on punishment have led to overcrowded prisons and jails that accomplish almost nothing to remedy the problems of drug user or addicts. The War on Drugs has been a colossal failure using any objective measures, yet this bill offers more of the same thinking.

Bill Status:


Introduced in the House on 11/9/15

Referred to the House Insurance Committee on 11/16/15

Received Committee hearings on 11/18/2015, 11/24/2015, 12/2/2015, 1/12/2015, 1/19/2015