Jefferson City – Senate Republicans are trying to cut Missouri unemployment coverage to just eight weeks. The change would make Missouri the worst state in the country for unemployment coverage.
Democratic Sen. Doug Beck (D-Affton), a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, filibustered for two-and-a-half hours on March 22 to try to stop the bill.
“The original idea of unemployment for people came from companies,” Beck said. “They were tired of losing workers when they had downtime or they had seasonal work. They wanted to keep them where they could live and survive and they could call them back [when they needed them]… It’s hard to recruit and get good talent. That’s what this bill will do. This will make people who are high talent, people that are going to be in demand wherever there’s a demand, leave the state, they’re going to go. And in our area, (St. Louis), they’re just going to go over to Illinois and do their thing over there.”
Senate Bill 665 would tie the duration of unemployment benefits to the unemployment rate, cutting it from the current 20 weeks — if unemployment is above nine percent, to eight weeks — if unemployment is three and a half percent or lower.
The bill has been set aside for the time being.