Bill to protect Missouri’s unemployment insurance fund sent to Gov. Nixon for signature

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri House gave final approval to legislation that will protect Missouri’s unemployment insurance system from future economic downturns that has repeatedly thrown Missouri’s fund into insolvency over the last decade. Today’s vote sends the bill to Gov. Jay Nixon for his approval. House Bill 150, sponsored by Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob), would tie the number of weeks jobless Missourians can receive unemployment benefits to the unemployment rate.

“Following the last recession, Missouri’s unemployment insurance system became insolvent and had to borrow money from the federal government to cover claims and employers paid millions in interest alone on the borrowed funds,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President/CEO. “In fact, Missouri is the only state that has had to borrow funds from the federal government to provide benefits to unemployed workers during the last five economic downturns. We need to take steps to keep the fund from chronic insolvency. This bill does that.”

Both Georgia and Florida have passed legislation that ties unemployment benefit weeks to the unemployment rate.

Under this bill, unemployed Missourians would be eligible for:

  • 20 weeks of benefits if the Missouri average unemployment rate is nine percent or higher;
  • 19 weeks of benefits if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between 8.5 percent and 9 percent;
  • 18 weeks of benefits if the Missouri average unemployment rate is 8 percent up to and including 8.5 percent;
  • 17 weeks if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between 7 .5 percent and 8 percent;
  • 16 weeks of benefits if the Missouri average unemployment rate is 7 percent up to and including 7.5 percent;
  • 15 weeks of benefits if the Missouri average unemployment rate is between 6.5 percent and 7 percent;
  • 14 weeks of benefits if the Missouri average unemployment rate is 6 percent up to and including 6.5 percent;
  • 13 weeks of unemployment benefits if the Missouri average unemployment rate is below 6 percent.

The Missouri Chamber is the lead advocate of this legislation and has testified multiple times on its behalf when previous versions have been heard in past legislative sessions.

“We owe it to our employees to protect the fund for those that become unemployed through no fault of their own,” said Mehan. “And we also owe it to employers, who fully fund our unemployment insurance system, to establish systemic reforms that will better protect the fund so that we don’t have this problem arise the next time the economy dips.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.

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About mochamber

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

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