Florida's H. B. 509 - A Bad Idea
Update: from The Political Carnival - Unemployed Floridians bristle at being called lazy, incompetent
A new bill, H. B. 509, has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives. Marcia Heroux Pounds, writing in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, reports:
A bill introduced this week by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) would make four hours of volunteer service mandatory for each week of jobless benefits.
H.B. 509 would change eligibility so that an unemployed individual could receive benefits only if the Agency for Workforce Innovation confirms that she or he has volunteered for a minimum of four hours for that week for a nonprofit organization.
The requirement also would apply to those receiving extended benefits.
In December, then Gov.-elect Rick Scott's transition team recommended that the state's unemployed receiving 12 or more weeks of benefits do community service.
State unemployment compensation is an insurance benefit.
- Imagine going to the doctor's office or to the hospital, and filing a claim for medical insurance, only to be told that your claim will be processed after you submit proof that you've performed community service.
- Imagine being in a fender bender, and filing an insurance claim for your car, only to be told that your claim will be processed after you submit proof that you've performed community service.
- Imagine a storm damaging your house, and filing a claim for homeowner's insurance, only to be told that your claim will be processed after you submit proof that you've performed community service.
Encouraging volunteerism, especially among the unemployed, is a great idea. Mandatory community service, in exchange for an insurance benefit that has already been paid for, is a bad idea.
One other point: Extended benefits (EUC and EB) are paid for by Federal dollars, not state. Federal law preempts state law. The state cannot attach conditions to a Federal program.