This week the Senate again took up changes to the state’s unemployment insurance policies, with a proposal (Senate Bill 23) to delay reform approved with bipartisan support in 2009.
Monday: Not enough bipartisan support to leverage $150M for out of work Hoosiers
Senators voted along party lines against making changes in state law that would have made $150 million in federal funds available to provide benefits to more unemployed Hoosiers. The author of the proposed amendments (to SB 23), Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage, says that money could have meant more dollars spent in the local economy. The amendments would have made changes to conform with federal modernization standards determining an employee’s base wage period and expanding eligibility for those caring for an ill spouse, child or parent and continue to receive benefits while enrolled in approved training.
Listen to Sen. Tallian’s comments from Monday’s debate in the Senate:
Tuesday: Senate Democrats vote against delay in getting unemployment benefits to Hoosiers
While most Senate Democrats supported this bill as it made its way through the Senate Tax and Fiscal Committee, a last minute amendment caused the vote to split along party lines. The amendment includes language that would delay out-of-work Hoosiers who have been denied unemployment benefits from receiving any help until a hearing for an appeal is set and a judgment is made.
Sen. Tallian says that the lag time between when an appeal for unemployment benefits is filed and a date is set for the hearing is too long for Hoosier families to withstand. Sen. Tallian also says that this one amendment has caused a once bipartisan agreement to go by the wayside.
Listen to Sen. Tallian’s comments from Tuesday’s debate in the Senate:
Sen. Tim Skinner of Terre Haute says that families should not have to wait for their benefits while they wait for the outcome of an appeal. Sen. Skinner noted his support for the bill before the amendment was included and says that because the bill was changed, so was his vote.
Listen to Senator Skinner’s comments from Tuesday’s debate in the Senate: