House OKs bill that would mandate unemployment offices be open

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) The House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation today to increase access to unemployment insurance benefits across the Commonwealth.

The bill, HB 367, is sponsored by Rep. Scott Sharp, R-Ashland, and would mandate public employment offices be open and operational in specified locations across the state anytime the unemployment rate in a local workforce area increases to above 5 percent.

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“We are approaching the one year anniversary of Kentucky’s first diagnosed case of COVID-19. We have an opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months and how the people of this commonwealth have weathered this experience,” Sharp said. “As the law-making branch of state government, we also have an obligation to take this experience and use it to craft good, long-term public policy that will better prepare our state for future challenges.”

HB 367 would also require a biannual review of area unemployment rates and makes technical changes to ensure that the resources invested are still being used wisely.

“When you face a crisis that puts hundreds of thousands out of work overnight, you must be prepared to change the way you operate,” Sharp added. “I started receiving phone calls from constituents the day after the election and arrived in Frankfort to be sworn in with a stack of desperate pleas from folks in my district. I thought I could at least help them get in touch with an individual, but I quickly realized that even I couldn’t get through. So, I got in my car and drove to the Cabinet. While I was seen and received a follow up phone call, my constituents have seen very little movement in their cases.”

HB 367 will move to the Senate for consideration. Details of the measure can be viewed on the Legislative Research Commission’s website at www.legislature.ky.g