Fighting Habitual Abusers of Unemployment Insurance

Date: January 29, 2017

Weekly report from the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Only 10 bills have advanced to the second round of debate, as the Legislature continues consideration of permanent rules for the balance of the session, reports NFIB/Nebraska State Director Bob Hallstrom in his latest update from Lincoln for the legislative week ending January 27.

Facing a projected revenue shortfall of nearly $900 million in the next two years, the Appropriations Committee has proposed $276 million in adjustments to spending in the last half of the current fiscal year. The Legislature is expected to take action on the Appropriations Committee recommendations early next week.

Additionally, Sen. Bill Kintner (Papillion) announced his resignation from the Unicameral effective next week. Gov. Pete Ricketts will consider applicants and name a new senator to represent Legislative District 2 in the near future.

Committee Activity

NFIB Nebraska presented testimony before the Business and Labor Committee on January 23 expressing support for Legislative Bill 203 (Unemployment Insurance) and opposition to LB 181 (Workers Compensation – Independent Medical Examinations).

Legislative Bill 181 – Workers Compensation – Independent Medical Examinations: Introduced by Sen. Dan Quick (Grand Island), LB 181 would require an employer to provide reimbursement to an employee for a reasonable fee associated with a subsequent report and examination by a physician selected by the employee.

Reimbursement would also include reasonably necessary transportation expenses incurred for the examination in any case in which a physician selected by the employer or its workers’ compensation insurer renders medical findings on the medical condition of the employee, if the employee disputes the medical findings of the physician selected by the employer or its workers’ compensation carrier.

In opposing LB 181, State Director Hallstrom noted “The bill would install an additional, unnecessary layer of expense on employers or their insurance carriers.”

Legislative Bill 203 – Unemployment Insurance: Introduced by Sen. John Kuehn (Heartwell), LB 203 would revise the requirements for individuals receiving unemployment benefits who voluntarily leave a job without good cause by providing that such an individual would not be eligible for unemployment benefits until they have earned four times their weekly benefit amount in insured work and has separated from the most recent subsequent employment under non-disqualifying conditions. The bill would address habitual abusers of the unemployment insurance program and is estimated to save employers between $2.75 million and $7.5 million annually.

The Business and Labor Committee took no action on either of these bills.

[Tile photo of Sen. John Kuehn courtesy of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature website.]

Previous Reports and Related Media

January 20 Report—Bill Introduction Period Expires in Nebraska Legislature

January 13 Report—Bill Introductions Less Than Normal in Nebraska Legislature

January 12 News Release—Comment on Today’s State-of-the-State Address

January 6 Report—Nebraska Legislature Opens for Business

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