Senate votes to cut unemployment benefits time

The Alabama Senate voted Thursday to reduce the number of weeks that a person can receive jobless benefits, linking the time to the local unemployment rate.

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 4:43 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate voted Thursday to reduce the number of weeks that a person can receive jobless benefits, linking the time to the local unemployment rate.

Senators voted 21-8 for the bill. It now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

The proposal reduces the maximum unemployment benefit period from 26 weeks to 14 weeks when the unemployment rate in the person's county is at or below 6.5 percent. When the rate is higher, People could get a maximum of 20 weeks, depending upon the unemployment rate. Unemployed individuals could also get another five weeks by enrolling in job training.

The bill also raises the maximum benefit by about $40 per month.

The state's jobless rate was 3.5 percent in December, but the rate varies from county to county. Lawmakers concerned about the disparity added an amendment so the benefit time is linked to the county rate, and not the state average.

Republican Sen. Arthur Orr, the bill's sponsor, said the move follows other states that have gone to flexible programs.

"This brings us in line with a lot of other Southeastern states that we're competing with for larger scale projects," Orr, R-Decatur, said.

Orr said the change would collectively save businesses between $50 million and $60 million each year.

"Most individuals always find a job well before the 26-week period," Orr said.

Sen. Rodger Smitherman, who opposed the bill, said it would take money from people who need it.

"To me that's unconscionable," Smitherman said.

"Even if it's 3 percent unemployment, those people who are the three percent need the full benefits," Smitherman said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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