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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Florida Proposing Limiting Jobless Benefits (Updated)

Originally posted 2/19/2011, updated 2x below

From WCTV-TV:

New Limits on Jobless Benefits Moves Ahead in House

Breaking along party lines, a Republican-dominated House committee Thursday okayed a proposed rewrite of state unemployment compensation laws – cutting eligibility for Florida’s jobless and making it harder to claim benefits.

You can read the full story on WCTV's website.

Key features of the proposed bill (HB 7005):

  • State unemployment benefits would be cut from 26 to 20 weeks.
  • If Florida's unemployment rate drops to 5%, the state would limit benefits to 12 weeks.
  • Employers will have new authority to challenge a fired or laid-off worker's claim.

You can track HB 7005's progress on MyFloridaHouse.gov.

What's wrong with Florida? You may remember HB 509, a proposed bill that would have made it mandatory for the unemployed to perform community service in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits.

2/25/2011 - Update 1 - the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that HB 7005 is advancing through the Florida legislature:

Florida HB 7005 again won support, this time in the Economic Affairs Committee on Friday morning.

Democratic challenges and amendments, primarily from representatives from South Florida and Orlando, failed as the Republican-controlled committee voted to advance the bill.

Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, succeeded also with an amendment adding a clause to the bill that would retain other elements of the bill should it be challenged in court or by federal regulators. Ultimately, the U.S. Labor Department must certify any state's law that changes unemployment compensation.

Opponents to the bill also raised constitutionality issues, but mainly asked legislators not to deny six weeks of benefits and make it more difficult for Florida's unemployed to qualify for benefits.

It's important to note that Florida currently has the nation's third highest unemployment rate: 12.0%

3/9/2011 - Update 2 - the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the Florida House has tentatively approved the bill, moving it one step closer to passage.

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