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: 98190

Reported Deaths: 2969
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7179161
DeSoto567863
Harrison391774
Jackson355370
Rankin334679
Madison333190
Lee280471
Forrest252476
Jones251580
Washington226379
Lafayette220840
Lauderdale2077126
Bolivar185770
Oktibbeha181152
Lamar174336
Lowndes159858
Neshoba1597104
Panola151231
Sunflower148546
Leflore142681
Warren141550
Pontotoc129316
Pike124953
Monroe124669
Copiah119933
Scott117727
Coahoma116730
Lincoln112353
Marshall111821
Holmes110060
Grenada109836
Yazoo106631
Simpson105047
Tate101238
Union100224
Leake96338
Adams94537
Wayne91221
Pearl River90953
Prentiss87918
Marion87136
Itawamba85021
Alcorn83211
Covington83023
George78413
Newton77824
Tallahatchie77724
Winston74619
Tishomingo70338
Chickasaw69224
Tippah68718
Attala67225
Clarke61048
Walthall60426
Clay59918
Hancock59522
Jasper58115
Noxubee55816
Smith54515
Calhoun52712
Tunica49915
Montgomery46920
Claiborne46516
Yalobusha44214
Lawrence43714
Perry42821
Greene38917
Quitman3875
Stone37913
Humphreys37715
Jefferson Davis34611
Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll32312
Wilkinson30718
Kemper29115
Sharkey26614
Jefferson2429
Benton2333
Franklin1973
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 137564

Reported Deaths: 2399
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19938351
Mobile13507293
Montgomery8866185
Tuscaloosa8837118
Madison798179
Shelby607449
Lee597161
Baldwin560650
Marshall397543
Calhoun355644
Etowah354845
Morgan333428
Houston293921
Elmore271948
DeKalb244321
St. Clair235936
Walker235485
Talladega217830
Limestone214420
Cullman191920
Dallas179826
Franklin179130
Autauga178727
Russell17683
Lauderdale175133
Colbert167726
Blount162115
Escambia161624
Jackson159712
Chilton159530
Covington140727
Dale140344
Coffee13716
Pike121611
Chambers117542
Tallapoosa117185
Clarke110316
Marion97529
Butler91740
Barbour8867
Winston75013
Marengo72620
Pickens67014
Randolph66613
Lowndes65927
Bibb65810
Hale64928
Geneva6444
Lawrence63425
Cherokee61713
Bullock60714
Clay5918
Monroe5908
Washington56012
Crenshaw54332
Perry5426
Conecuh53911
Wilcox53211
Henry5105
Macon48318
Fayette4689
Sumter43719
Cleburne3945
Lamar3822
Choctaw35112
Greene30515
Coosa1743
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