Monday, August 15, 2022

Play

President Biden this week is poised to sign into law sweeping legislation that addresses climate change and prescription drug costs; Measuring the Supreme Court abortion decision's impact in the corporate world; Disaster recovery for Eastern Kentucky businesses.

Play

Federal officials warn about threats against law enforcement; Democrats push their climate, health, and tax bill through Congress; and a new report reveals 800 Americans were evacuated during the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Play

Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

KY Lawmakers Move to Cut Unemployment Benefits

Play

Monday, March 28, 2022   

The number of weeks Kentuckians can receive unemployment benefits will soon be cut by more than half.

Last week, state lawmakers overrode Gov. Andy Beshear's veto of House Bill 4, which reduces the amount of time a person can get unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 12.

Dustin Pugel, senior policy analyst at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said the move will push more laid-off Kentuckians into poverty and lower-paying jobs. He noted in eastern Kentucky and other regions seeing declines in coal and manufacturing, jobs are not easy to find.

"So, what we're going to have is a lot of folks losing work," Pugel projected. "Being pushed into lower-wage jobs, and then turning to programs like SNAP and Medicaid for help."

He added while the statewide unemployment rate has averaged 6% over the past decade, counties like Magoffin have seen unemployment rates 30% higher.

Supporters argued the law will spur more people into finding work amid a labor shortage and a strong economic bounce-back from COVID-19. Kentucky now joins fewer than a dozen states in providing fewer than 26 weeks of unemployment.

Pugel pointed out the increased requirements and the back-and-forth necessary between claimants and the state's outdated unemployment processing system realistically means many people could lose benefits after a little over a month.

"After having your benefits for six weeks, you have to accept the first job that's offered to you," Pugel explained. "So long as it pays a little over half of what your last job did, and so long as it's within 30 miles of where you live."

Pugel believes the cumulative effects of weakening Kentucky workers' safety net will hit underserved communities the hardest.

"Particularly for folks that the economy doesn't work for them," Pugel outlined. "Like, again, people in rural Kentucky, Black workers, workers with disabilities, folks who are leaving incarceration looking for a job."

State data showed Black Kentuckians made up around 16% of unemployment insurance claims in December 2021, despite comprising just 9% of the workforce.

Disclosure: The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Criminal Justice, Education, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
In 2021, damages from floods and other severe weather in the United States exceeded $145 billion. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

In the wake of historic summer floods in the Midwest and Appalachia, there are calls for a new national plan to reduce risks from disasters. The …


Social Issues

Small businesses that suffered damage or destruction from the recent historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky can get one-on-one assistance as they try t…

Environment

The Inflation Reduction Act, newly passed by the U.S. Senate, allocates $369 Billion to fight climate change, and appropriates funds specifically for …


Social Issues

By Linda Burstyn for Ms. Magazine Broadcast version by Roz Brown for New Mexico News Connection/Public News Service Bad Business: Anti-abortion …

In Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 General Election, voters will decide races for governor, U.S. House and Senate, and several state offices. (Zimmytws/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Opening up Pennsylvania's primary elections to voters who aren't registered either as Democrats or Republicans is the topic of a State House of Repres…

Social Issues

August is National Black Business Month, and this year, for Black-owned companies in Pennsylvania that have managed to survive through the pandemic…

Social Issues

On August 27, members of the public will have a rare opportunity to visit the historic Padlock Ranch first developed for livestock in 1867, now …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021