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Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

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Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  nancym on Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:35 pm

[Please use this thread for discussion of any Florida state legislative action or debate related to unemployment benefits.]

I'll know more later, but I just heard from a local attorney who helps NELP with Florida legislative advocacy that there are a couple of programs they intend to push this coming legislative session.

One is the expansion of unemployment benefits that was attempted last spring but failed to pass, leaving up to $450 million federal dollars on the table. Notice that the word is "expansion," not "extension," indicating that the effort is to expand eligibility to more of Florida's unemployed who currently don't qualify for benefits. (Florida is close to last place in the percentage of unemployed who actually qualify for benefits.)

Any changes in this area will probably not directly affect the majority of people currently using this forum, except maybe through family and friends. But this forum is open to all unemployed, not just those of us now getting benefits.

The second item mentioned, and I am waiting to get more details, was an "EB fix." I'm hoping this relates to the "lost" weeks that many who were still getting EB after Nov 8 had subtracted from their Tier 3, perhaps a fix to reinstate those weeks? I don't mean to give false hope here, but just wanted to let people know there may be something brewing about this. Will post more when I know more. (Someone in the training thread mentioned a rep saying something about how she could apply for EB; we don't know if the rep was misinformed or perhaps knew about some kind of upcoming change.)

If in fact this EB matter does pertain to those missing weeks, I have to assume that those of us who already got the maximum EB weeks would not be eligible for more; but anyone who lost those EB weeks after Nov 8 might want to pay attention to what is going on in Florida's legislative session coming up to see if that is being discussed, or call your local state reps.
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EB in Florida--this just in!

Post  nancym on Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:10 pm

FLORIDA **** IMPORTANT **** FLORIDA **** URGENT!!! **** PLEASE PASS IT ON!

[UIO, I'm deliberately triple-posting this in other threads to make it more visible right away.--nancym]

Anyone from Florida, PLEASE take action on legislation coming up in the Florida Senate tomorrow, April 21. Senator Gelber (D) is bringing up an AMENDMENT to SB 1736, a bill that would extend Extended Benefits in Florida through June 5 (or whatever that exact date is in the recent federal law).

Problem is, Congress will probably extend their 100% funding for EB further later this year, after the Florida session is over. So Sen Gelber's amendment would provide for accepting any 100% provided monies for EB that Congress subsequently enacts this year.

What this means is that anyone who did not get EB in Florida already (and possibly those whose EB was cut off last fall--I'm not sure about this part) would be able to apply for EB when their EUC benefits expire, or have already expired.

This action would do nothing for anyone who has already received the full weeks of EB last year, but it would affect thousands who would be eligible and bring a lot of money into the state.

ACTION:

Please call or email Senator Atwater, President of the Senate to tell him you support Senator Gelber's amendment to SB 1736 that allows for more months of Extended Benefits beyond the current cutoff in June if Congress votes for longer funding.

http://www.flsenate.gov/Welcome/index.cfm?CFID=201248695&CFTOKEN=48756914

Then please call your local Florida Senator to express your support as well. (You can follow the links on the left of the page if you don't know who your Florida Senator is.)

Please, everyone from Florida should be calling on this, even if it doesn't give you personally more weeks, since it will bring more help for the unemployed in this 12.3% state.

I learned of this just today from NELP's Miami advocate in the Florida legislature.
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Unemployed In Orlando on Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:11 pm

Excellent! Thanks Nancy!! cheers
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Unemployed In Orlando on Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:22 pm

I suppose we should keep this thread as ongoing for the Florida EB, and keep any info on federal tiers in the other. bounce
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  UEINFL on Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:34 pm

EVERYBODY PLEASE CALL!!!! I just contacted Senator Atwater's office and let them know that I strongly support the Amendment to SB1736. The lady I spoke with was very nice and even took my contact info... not just my name. I have followed the phone contact up with an email and will add them to my list of daily calls/emails. In addition, I have called Senator Nelson's office and the Governor's office and advised my support of the Amendment to SB1736. These calls have also been followed up with emails and will be duplicated right before dinner. I've got great family/friend support, a group of about 15 who make daily calls/emails to our Senators/Governor on my behalf. I will get them to do the same!!! Thanks for the info regarding SB1736. I knew some hope was coming today... Thank you, Thank you!!!

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SB 1736 in session starting today at 1:30

Post  nancym on Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:25 pm

UPDATE:

Florida's Senate session starts today at 1:30. You can watch the video feed here:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/index.cfm?Mode=Video%20Broadcasts&Submenu=8&Tab=session
You might want to check if you have the right player installed by viewing the current House session linked below that. Smile

Meanwhile, I have further updates on the contents of the bill posted in the thread on eligibility:

http://unemployed-florida.topdiscussion.com/latest-uc-eb-euc-awi-news-f1/eligibility-for-uic-eb-euc-t130-75.htm#3868

It's not too late to call! See the links for Senator Atwater or use the Florida Senate links to find your own local state Senator.
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  nancym on Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:25 pm

April 21, 3:23 PM
Live video feed is going on in the Florida Senate floor.

Anyone interested in watching to see the fate of SB 1736 and its two amendments, that session is rolling along very quickly, with SB 1736 about 5 bills ahead:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/index.cfm?Mode=Video%20Broadcasts&Submenu=8&Tab=session
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Jeff on Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:56 pm

nancym wrote:April 21, 3:23 PM
Live video feed is going on in the Florida Senate floor.

Anyone interested in watching to see the fate of SB 1736 and its two amendments, that session is rolling along very quickly, with SB 1736 about 5 bills ahead:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/index.cfm?Mode=Video%20Broadcasts&Submenu=8&Tab=session

They went over it so fast that I couldn't follow. I think they set it aside but I couldn't follow why....something about the language, the State House and the Fed.

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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  frustratedinfl on Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:26 pm

But I think the part where it gets extended benefits until June got passed... didn't it? Just not the one that extended it beyond that if the Federal Government extended their deadline... it did go so fast... so I am not sure.

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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  nancym on Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:12 pm

frustratedinfl wrote:But I think the part where it gets extended benefits until June got passed... didn't it? Just not the one that extended it beyond that if the Federal Government extended their deadline... it did go so fast... so I am not sure.

Not yet, but don't give up hope, this bill is still in play. It was only the second reading of the bill, if I heard that right, and they were just entertaining the amendments in today's session. Senator Gelber and Sen Garcia agreed to withdraw the amendment but not to stop their efforts to get this passed.

It's a technicality that has to do with some legal wording that they have been told will never be accepted by the House in its present form. So they will be working in conference to come up with the exact wording that the House would accept instead of passing a law with the "offensive" wording that would never make it to the floor of the House.

I'll post more on this later, and who to contact this week and early next week. So keep your fingers crossed for now.
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Jeff on Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:46 am

A guy on another site who recently exhausted Tier4, checked his benefits page and found his account has been refreshed with the equivalent of six weeks of benefits, which corresponds to June2.

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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Unemployed In Orlando on Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:04 pm

Jeff wrote:A guy on another site who recently exhausted Tier4, checked his benefits page and found his account has been refreshed with the equivalent of six weeks of benefits, which corresponds to June2.

Maybe some confusion on his part? Possibly since 6 weeks was also the amount of tier 4.
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Jeff on Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:09 pm

Unemployed In Orlando wrote:
Jeff wrote:A guy on another site who recently exhausted Tier4, checked his benefits page and found his account has been refreshed with the equivalent of six weeks of benefits, which corresponds to June2.

Maybe some confusion on his part? Possibly since 6 weeks was also the amount of tier 4.

That makes more sense because as I understand it, Crist hasn't even signed it yet. And they're still trying to get the wording right about how to extend it out further depending on what the Fed does, so that we can get the whole twenty weeks or whatever.

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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  nancym on Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:21 pm

I spoke again with Arthur Rosenberg, our NELP advocate in Tallahassee, and he asked me to help get the word out about more pressure on legislators to get this thing resolved so that it allows for the full potential of federal help beyond the current amendment that goes only to June 2 (I have to check that exact date, sometime in June!)

The House already made it very clear to Sen Garcia, the bill's originator, and Sen Gelber, the one who is pushing the long term amendment, that they would absolutely not look at the current wording in that amendment as it is. So they were promised that all efforts would be made to work out a satisfactory wording in conference so that the wording (same meaning, just legal technicalities) would be acceptable to the House and then they could bring it to the floor for a final vote.

So between now and early next week, the people that need to hear from you, even if you called before, are these (along with your regular state reps, who will end up voting on SB 1736, one way or another:

Sen Jeff Atwater, President of the Senate:
http://www.flsenate.gov/cgi-bin/View_Page.pl?Tab=legislators&Submenu=1&File=index.html&Directory=Legislators/senate/025

Rep Larry Cretul, Speaker of the House:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4264&SessionId=64

Rep David Rivera, who I was told is in charge of the budget process concerning this bill
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4284&SessionId=64

Notice that these are all Republicans, so I would appeal to their fiscal sensibilities--this would bring potentially millions of dollars into the state at no cost to Florida businesses! Smile

Also note that some of these have fax numbers, if you would like to put your thoughts in that format.

If this thing passes, or even now, you might consider also calling Sen Hill, Sen Gelber, and Sen Garcia to thank them for their efforts for the unemployed. Both Hill and Gelber are Democrats; Garcia is a Republican, but he represents part of hard-hit Miami-Dade, and it was his bill that carried the amendment that gave most of us here EB originally for most of 2009.
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Unemployed In Orlando on Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:40 pm

Great job Nancy! Thanks for this information, and I encourage all members or guest users to please push to contact these individuals.
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  motley on Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:03 pm

Done. Thanks for the update.

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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Hoppy on Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:09 pm

Absolutely! We can get this done. Thanks, Nancy, for your hard work.
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Florida Senate passed Extension - now it goes to the House

Post  Hoppy on Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:59 pm

I just read this article:

Florida Senate approves extension of federal unemployment benefits for 5 weeks

Associated Press
04/26/10 1:40 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — About 42,000 out-of-work Floridians whose unemployment benefits have lapsed may be eligible for five additional weeks of payments.

The Florida Senate passed a bill Monday to take advantage of the extension in federal funding for unemployment approved by Congress on April 15. The federal legislation extended temporary state benefits that expired Feb. 28.

Unemployment in Florida hit a record high at 12.3 percent in March, well above the national unemployment average of 9.7 percent. About 1.1 million Floridians are without jobs.

The bill next goes to the House. Here's the link:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/economy/ap/florida-senate-approves-extension-of-federal-unemployment-benefits-for-5-weeks-92108019.html

Does this also include Extended Benefits for those who never received them or were cut off?


Last edited by Hoppy on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:00 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add a sentence.)
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  GonzoFL on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:13 am

Hoppy,

It is my understanding that these additional weeks would be for those that never received EB or had their EB cut short.
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Jeff on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:16 am

Anything about a built-in federal activation trigger beyond June?

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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Hoppy on Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:10 am

GonzoFL wrote:Hoppy,

It is my understanding that these additional weeks would be for those that never received EB or had their EB cut short.

Whoo Hoo! Thanks, Gonzo, that would include me! Thanks! cheers
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  nancym on Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:19 am

Jeff wrote:Anything about a built-in federal activation trigger beyond June?

I've been away for a bit, so I haven't heard the latest from my contact in Tallahassee, but I checked the Florida House website just now, and there are two new amendments submitted by Rep. Rader, one of which covers the extension beyond the current federal cutoff.

The other amendment (I didn't read the whole thing) appears to be another attempt to try to pass the alternative base period and some other provisions, which failed to pass last year; this would bring in several million more in fed money, but I doubt it will pass.

But the other amendment, just entered today around 5PM, is probably and hopefully the agreed upon wording that would be acceptable to the House.

So SB 1736 is up for vote in the House, but I don't know when it is slated to be voted on. This is the final week, and there appears to be a deadline for other kinds of amendments late tomorrow, so I don't know if that means they could vote on it tomorrow, or only after tomorrow.

Understand that this new provision, if passed, could potentially mean a lot more weeks for some of you, but there are several caveats:

1) If the bill passes without the amendment for the extra weeks, it would provide retroactive payments from Feb 27, but only up til June 2. That means that only people who exhausted all EUC tiers before June 2 would be eligible, and only for those weeks between the date they exhausted and June 2.

2) If the bill passes with the amendment newly proposed today also, then anyone who exhausted all EUC stands to be eligible for up to 20 weeks of EB---BUT this factor is solely dependent on Congress, at some time from now until the next Florida session convenes (sometime in February 2011, I think, passing further extensions of the ARRA help for the states that provides 100% funding for these benefits, which are usually shared 50-50. (Since Florida's UI fund is close to broke, there is no way they are willing to pay that extra 50%, but the amendment would enable them to accept the free money.)

I once thought Congress would pass these extensions without hesitation, but with the worsening unemployment and all the hassles going on in Congress just to pass a two month date extension, nothing is certain now. They might include that EB funding extension in any other bill, or it might never happen. The latest date covered by the feds now is June 2. Until they change that, Florida won't change either.

3) For those whose EB was cut off prematurely last fall, I simply don't know how or if these new benefits will apply. I suggest if this bill passes with or without this new amendment, call AWI (wait til they've figured it out!) and ask if you will be eligible and what to do.

4) These new benefits are ONLY if you never got EB last year (or maybe if you got it cut off), not for those who exhausted EB and went on to Tier 3.. For those who never went through it, understand that EB has much stricter requirements for job searches accountability written into the law. It's really not that bad, mainly more paperwork. If you get it and are new to it, I suggest that you read through some of the agony a lot of us went through in the beginning last year in the early posts about EB job search requirements. It should be smoothed out by now(!), but you never know!

The bill text is here, but it's mostly a re-hash of the earlier provisions I think, except for the date changes.

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_s1736e1.DOCX&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=1736&Session=2010

So now be sure to CALL YOUR REPS IN THE FLORIDA HOUSE!!

AND if the new amendment passes, that's ONE MORE THING to lobby Congress about--extending the 100% funding for EB. lol!
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  Hoppy on Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:39 am

As always, Nancy has unraveled the confusion for us. Thank you, Nancy. I sure hope the poops in DC get around to extending that cut off date since now they're embroiled in immigration. Neutral
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Re: Florida legislature -- possible new benefits?

Post  nancym on Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:14 am

Hoppy wrote:As always, Nancy has unraveled the confusion for us. Thank you, Nancy. I sure hope the poops in DC get around to extending that cut off date since now they're embroiled in immigration. Neutral

Actually, if this article is to be believed, that's not really going to happen, just a show of rhetoric for Hispanic votes. And perhaps Congress hasn't completely and utterly lost its mind after all. Smile

http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggle/archive/2010/04/26/congressional-dems-say-no-immigration-bill-anytime-soon.aspx
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URGENT UPDATE - Florida legislature!

Post  nancym on Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:08 pm

I posted last night to call your House reps urgently. This morning I got a call from the Florida attorney in Tallahassee who is advocating for NELP, pushing that new amendment that will enable possibly so many to get EB. He told me that it is really critical that people focus on calling two people:

Larry Cretul - Speaker of the House
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4264&SessionId=42

Jeff Atwater- President of the Senate
http://www.flsenate.gov/cgi-bin/View_Page.pl?Tab=legislators&Submenu=1&File=index.html&Directory=Legislators/senate/025

They are the ones controlling what happens with this bill and this latest amendment, and the bill is getting so much pushback that it's urgent that people call these two to let them know how important it is. (There's even a possibility of putting the provision in another bill if it fails in SB 1736, but the session ends THIS WEEK, so everything is moving at lightning speed!)

PLEASE, even if you will not benefit directly from this bill, EVERYONE call these two power brokers to advocate for this bill to help the unemployed in Florida! If you've already called your own state reps, that's great, but Arthur Rosenberg, who is fighting to get this passed, begs us to call these two ASAP.

Tell them how many people are losing federal benefits each month --400,000 to 500,000, and a large portion of those are in Florida!


Last edited by nancym on Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:15 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : contact info links)
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