Bill Summary for H 442 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Mar 22 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 442 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Intro. by Zenger, Pless, Paré, Moss.

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Bill summary

Effective July 1, 2023, amends GS 96-14.7 (listing other reasons to be disqualified for payment of unemployment compensation [UC]) by enacting new GS 96-14.7(c) allowing for disqualification of UC for certain persons failing controlled substance testing, as follows. Specifies that an individual is disqualified for UC if the Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security (Division) determines that the individual is subject to testing for unlawful use of controlled substances, as defined in G.S. 90-87(5), or a metabolite thereof, and the individual either fails or refuses the testing. The testing requirement only applies to individuals as a condition of eligibility if (1) the individual was discharged for unlawful use of controlled substances by the individual's bona fide employer or (2) suitable work is only available in an occupation for which drug testing is regularly conducted. Lists the following nine kinds of occupations that regularly conduct drug testing:

An occupation where the Division has a factual basis for finding that employers hiring employees in that occupation conduct pre- or post-hire drug testing as a standard eligibility requirement for obtaining or maintaining employment in the occupation.

An occupation specifically identified in State or federal law as requiring an employee to be tested for controlled substances.

An occupation that requires the employee to carry a firearm.

An occupation identified in 14 C.F.R. § 120.105 (pertaining to workers who perform certain safety sensitive functions) by the Federal Aviation Administration in which the employee must be tested.

An occupation identified in 46 C.F.R. § 16.201 (pertaining to required chemical testing) by the United States Coast Guard in which the employee must be tested.

An occupation identified in 49 C.F.R. § 382.103 (pertaining to holders of certain commercial vehicle licenses and who operate commercial vehicles) by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in which the employee must be tested.

An occupation identified in 49 C.F.R. § 219.3 (pertaining to drug and alcohol testing of most railroad workers and contractors) by the Federal Railroad Administration in which the employee must be tested.

An occupation identified in 49 C.F.R. § 655.3 (pertaining to substance testing for certain transit operators, including railroads and ferryboats) by the Federal Transit Administration in which the employee must be tested.

An occupation identified in 49 C.F.R. § 199.2 (pertaining to certain pipeline operators) by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in which the employee must be tested.

Requires the Division to adopt rules to implement the act. Requires the testing program to comply with federal law and, to the extent practicable, with the requirements of Article 20 of GS Chapter 95 (pertaining to the regulation of controlled substance examinations). 

Requires individuals subject to the testing requirements to pay the cost of the test. Allows for individuals who fail the initial test to retake the test at their own expense. Permits individuals to disclose any medications that may impact test results and to provide proof they are taking the medication.  Allows for individuals who fail the drug testing to reapply for UC upon completion of a substance abuse treatment program approved by the Division and by taking additional tests for controlled substances at their own expense. Authorizes an individual who fails a substance test to be adjudicated under the procedures set forth in GS 96-15 (pertaining to claims for UC) but only on the issues of whether or not the test was in error or whether the failure to pass the test was due to lawful use of a drug prescribed by a licensed physician as medically necessary for the individual.

Requires the Division, no more than 120 days from the date the act becomes law, to complete an assessment of hiring practices in the construction and agricultural industries to determine if the eligibility requirement of controlled substances testing is appropriate.

Effective July 1, 2023, appropriates from the General Fund to the Department of Commerce the sum of $500,000 for the 2023-24 fiscal year and the sum of $500,000 for the 2024-25 fiscal year to pay the costs of administering the drug testing program required by the act.