Democrats introduce unemployment legislation

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused thousands of Wisconsinites to lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

“Workers deserve relief,” said State Senator Janis Ringhand. “The roadblocks to unemployment that have been put in place over the last decade have jammed up our system and made it more difficult, if not impossible, for people to get their unemployment claims approved.”

Today, Democrats introduced legislation to remove some of the roadblocks in the unemployment system. Laws passed in Wisconsin between 2011-2018 restricted unemployment benefits. Wisconsin has been trying to scale up unemployment during the pandemic while fighting systems intended to make it harder to apply.

“Making unemployment more difficult appealed to a lot of Republican who never thought that their neighbors would be thrown out of work by an act of God,” Ringhand added. “The bottom line is that if there is anything we can do to speed up the process, we should do it and we should do it now.”

The legislative package introduced by Democrats includes: 

  • LRB 6244: Allowing social security disability (SSDI) recipients to receive concurrent unemployment insurance benefits; 
  • LRB 6246: Reinstating the ability of those participating in extended occupational training to receive extended UI benefits; 
  • LRB 6249: Suspending the $500 wage threshold for recipients of unemployment insurance benefits temporarily; 
  • LRB 6254: Providing DWD the authority to determine by administrative rule what constitutes suitable work a claimant must accept if offered, and what labor market conditions to review based on the number of weeks that the claimant has received benefits; 
  • LRB 6256: Expanding DWD authority to promulgate rules that provider waivers for certain requirements; 
  • LRB 6257: Eliminating the requirement that claimants wait one week before receiving benefits; 
  • LRB 6265: Reduces administrative requirements; and 
  • LRB 6362: Eliminating the concept of substantial fault from being a disqualifying factor.