Monday, June 22, 2009

Emergency Personnel Benefit Fund Established with Governor's Signature

The governor signed on Friday (6/19) a bill that creates a new fund to help support the families of Missouri emergency workers who are killed in the line of duty.

House Bill 580, which was handled in the Senate by Sen. Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles), establishes the Line of Duty Compensation Act. The new law allows a claim to be filed with the Division of Workers' Compensation on behalf of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, air ambulance pilot or air ambulance registered nurse who is killed while on the job. The benefit is $25,000 and can be claimed up to one year following the individual’s death.

The bill contains an emergency clause, which means it became law upon receiving the governor’s signature.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Governor Signs Unemployment Compensation Extension Bill

On Friday (6/12), the governor signed House Bill 1075, a bill that extends and expands unemployment benefits for Missourians. House Bill 1075 contained an emergency clause, which means it took effect immediately upon receiving the governor’s signature.

The measure, handled in the Senate by Sen. John Griesheimer (R-Washington), allows the state to receive extended federal unemployment money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In turn, the state will use those funds to extend the amount of time out-of-work Missourians can receive unemployment benefits and expand who may be eligible for such benefits.

House Bill 1075 specifies that the additional unemployment compensation can be offered to claimants during times of high unemployment (when the average total unemployment is greater than 6.5 percent during the most recent three-month period). This amounts to extending unemployment benefits from the typical 59 weeks to an additional possible 13 weeks (during at least 6.5 percent unemployment) or 20 weeks (during at least 8 percent unemployment).

The bill also expands the number of Missourians who may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation. Individuals will now be able to receive unemployment benefits if they were forced to leave their jobs because of a compelling family reason, including the illness or disability of an immediate family member, the need to relocate for a spouse’s job, or because of a domestic violence situation. Also eligible to receive benefits are workers enrolled in a job training program.

For the expanded federal unemployment benefits to continue past 2009, the General Assembly must renew the provisions of HB 1075 next session or they will expire after the stimulus funding is depleted.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Governor Signs Jobs Bill

Today the governor signed HB 191, the comprehensive economic development measure passed by the Legislature on the last day of session. The bill is designed to create jobs and boost the economy while instituting major tax credit reform.

To read more about the bill, read the latest general column.