Florida Democrats File Bill To Reform State's "Broken" Unemployment System


Two Democrat lawmakers have filed a bill that aims to fix the state's unemployment system.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani of Orlando calls it a "disaster."

"We've seen the CONNECT system continue to cause so much stress for everyday people, payments be delayed...forcing folks into economic straits."

She says the proposal would provide more oversight and establish a timeline for the state to rule on claims within 3 weeks.

West Palm Beach Democrat Senator Bobby Powell filed the companion bill in his chamber and is hopeful to get bipartisan support.

"I believe that we will be able to move the legislation, have some conversation centered on what has happened with unemployment. I remain cautiously optimist that if we can't pass the entire bill, we will definitely have pieces of it implemented."

The bill would also increase the maximum weekly benefits from $275 to $500.

Lantana Senator Lori Berman touts what the bill offers for victims of domestic abuse.

"If you cannot go to your job because you are worried that your abuser knows where you work and will come attack you, you can get unemployment insurance in that situation."

Senator Janet Cruz of Tampa also supports the proposal. The Democrat says the problems that popped up last year were bound to happen.

"The current system is really archaic and it's intentionally designed to ensure that fewer individuals are eligible so that the tax rate for corporations stays low."

Democrats failed in their efforts to persuade the Republican majority in Tallahassee to hold a special session last year to address the unemployment system.

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