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New house bill aims to expand drug, alcohol testing to all Montana employees

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 21 2013 11:09:56 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Chad Yurashak owns Bar IX, and said he's had to dig into his worker's comp insurance.

"We had an employee sprain their ankle at one point" he said. "Sometimes people cut themselves with knives."

But the legislature is considering a new drug testing law that could lead to lower insurance rates.

Currently, Montana law restricts testing to employees working a hazardous environment, security position, or position affecting public safety or public health.

A state lawmaker from Missoula introduced House Bill 197 on Monday. It would expand that to any employee in the state.

"We don't feel it's necessary" Yurashak said. He feels he doesn't need to drug test employees.

But bill sponsor Republican Champ Edmunds said there's an incentive- the bill could allow employers to get a discounted worker's comp rate.

"If you show the workers comp insurance companies that you have drug testing in place, it reduces your rates" he said to the legislature.

"If it was advantageous for us, I would look at doing it" Yurashak said.

If the law passes, he said he'd consider making the switch- if it'd save him money.

When Edmunds introduced that bill, he said it would also reduce the amount of injuries in the work place. We're told several opponents did speak against the bill, saying it violates citizens' constitutional rights.