Department of Labor Opposes Democrats’ Ice Bill-Legislation Would Place a Tremendous, Unnecessary Financial Burden on Employers

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”’This testimony was presented by Colleen Y. LaClair, deputy director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, on bills relating to the illegal use of controlled substances in February 2004.”’



H.B. No. 2003 is an omnibus bill amending various statutes relating to criminal conduct for drug related offenses; amending laws relating to arrest and search warrants for drug offenses; amending laws relating to first time nonviolent drug offender diversion to substance abuse treatment; adding tort liability for drug dealers; adding new laws relating to employer sponsored substance abuse treatment and prevention programs and employer reimbursement for substance abuse treatment; amending the zero tolerance rule for public school students who are charged with drug offenses; amending existing law to provide parity in health insurance benefits for crystal methamphetamine addiction; amending the duties of the Office of Community Services to include coordination of the drug abatement efforts between public, private and community organizations; adding new laws to facilitate the development of drug rehabilitation homes for recovering addicts; and adding responsibility for methamphetamine removal to the responsibilities of the department of health.

Section 18 of H.B. 2003 creates a new part under Chapter 378 entitled “Substance Abuse Prevention Education,” which requires all employers with 15 or more employees to provide each year a minimum of three hours of substance abuse prevention education program annually for all their employees. Attendance at this education program would be mandatory for all employees. The Department would be required to collect fines or seek imprisonment of employers found in violation of this part.

Section 19 creates a new chapter entitled “Employer Reimbursement for Substance Abuse Treatment”, which ensures that employees who are involuntarily terminated from employment are able to access substance abuse treatment through the employer