Senate approves shortening length of unemployment benefits

Updated: Jan. 25, 2018 at 1:52 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Senate lawmakers approved legislation Thursday cutting the length of time someone could receive unemployment benefits.

The bill would cut the maximum amount of weeks someone could receive benefits from 26 to 14 if unemployment is at or below six percent.

For every half percent the unemployment rate is above 6.5 percent, an additional week of unemployment would be offered. The maximum amount of weeks would cap out at 20.

The maximum dollar amount received via unemployment would be raised from $265 to $275. An additional five weeks of unemployment would be offered if a person is in a job training program.

According to the bill sponsor Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Senate District 3, the bill would save businesses more than $50 million dollars, while putting Alabama law in line with many of its neighboring states.

Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Senate District 18, added an amendment offered to the county's unemployment rate, not the state's. This would allow some rural counties to allow for a slightly longer period of unemployment benefits than others.

Smitherman is against the bill, saying it could cost those families who need the cash more than $1800.

The bill passed 21 to eight. The bill now will move on the the House.

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