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Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 109 History

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hcr109 intr
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 109

(By Delegates Fleischauer, Argento, Beach, Brown, Caputo, Doyle, Hatfield, Klempa, Louisos, Moye, Rodighiero, Swartzmiller and Talbott)




Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study the advisability of enacting legislation to modernize the unemployment insurance program resulting in $33.2 million in additional federal stimulus funds to West Virginia.

Whereas, The enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for $33.2 million in available stimulus money to West Virginia for its adoption of key reform measures designed to provide unemployment insurance coverage to jobless workers who are currently ineligible for these benefits; and
Whereas, Unemployment compensation benefits is the primary safety net program enacted by the federal government in 1935 to provide transitional cash benefits to jobless workers in order to prevent the disruption of families and local economies during periods of increased unemployment; and
Whereas, The unemployment rate has increased from 4.4 percent in December 2008 to 7.5 percent (seasonally unadjusted) in February 2009, the economic contraction in West Virginia will force thousands of additional layoffs leaving workers, their families and the local economy in dire straits; and
Whereas, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would require West Virginia to first adopt the reform of providing for an alternative base period instead of the present standard base period thus, improving the ability of jobless workers to qualify for benefits. Currently, the standard base period, three months of earnings prior to filing for unemployment compensation, is ignored in making a determination for eligibility. The enactment of this base reform would secure one third of the federal stimulus money totaling $11 million. This reform measure would benefit approximately 500 West Virginia workers and cost the state $0.8 million; and
Whereas, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would allow West Virginia to choose among two of the four remaining reforms such as jobless workers who can only find part-time work. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of workers accepting part-time work in lieu of preferred full-time work has increased 83 percent since 2006. This provision would help approximately 1,800 West Virginia workers and cost the state $2.3 million. The adoption of at least two of the possible four available reforms would also provide West Virginia with its remaining share of $22 million in federal stimulus money up front; and
Whereas, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would also allow West Virginia to allow modifications to its "good cause" exceptions to voluntary unemployment by allowing workers to quit their jobs in order to prevent instances of domestic violence or, to follow a trailing spouse who has to relocate in order to find work elsewhere, and finally, to allow workers the opportunity to take care of their sick or elderly family member. The inclusion of this reform would benefit approximately 500 West Virginia workers and cost the state $1.4 million; and
Whereas, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would also allow West Virginia workers to enter into a certified training program in order to strengthen their job skills so they may be able to find work in another job growth industry; and
Whereas, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would also allow West Virginia the opportunity to provide supplemental unemployment compensation benefits of $15 to jobless workers with dependents, up to three children; and
Whereas, The $33.2 million in federal stimulus money would be enough money to pay for these additional reform benefits for seven years and provide West Virginia with an opportunity to weather the immediate economic storm now confronting it; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study the advisability of enacting legislation to modernize the unemployment insurance program resulting in $33.2 million in additional federal stimulus funds to the state; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the Legislature on the first day of the regular session, 2010, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations together with drafts of any legislation to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved,That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, prepare a report and the drafting of necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
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