Assembly Passes Armstrong UI Bill, Other Workforce Reforms 

MADISON, WI – The Assembly has passed a legislative package intended to address Wisconsin’s labor shortage.  This package includes Assembly Bill 147, which State Rep. Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake) introduced to combat fraud in the unemployment insurance (UI) program.

“The primary reason for UI is to provide financial assistance to people who have lost their job through no fault of their own as they seek new employment,” Representative Armstrong explained.  “AB 147 supports this mission on two fronts.  First, it expands the definition of ‘misconduct’ to include the unauthorized possession or use of an employer’s property, as well as violations of an employer’s social media policy.  Second, it requires random audits for 50% of reported work-search actions to ensure that UI claimants are indeed actively seeking reemployment, which is a condition for receiving benefits.”

Representative Armstrong also voted in favor of other workforce reform bills on the April 25 calendar.  These include proposals to crack down on UI claimants “ghosting” employers during the work-search process, to require the Department of Workforce Development to provide more reemployment services, and to codify emergency flexibilities in the event of future UI surges.

“There are over 97,000 job vacancies around the state,” Representative Armstrong said.  “I believe today’s Assembly actions will help get some people off the sidelines and back to work.  I also recognize that these reforms are only part of the solution.  Housing, childcare, and transportation are also critical factors, and I am willing to work with whomever to address these important issues.”

AB 147 and the other workforce bills the Assembly passed will now go to the Senate for further consideration.