House passes bill to require unemployed to bump up job search

Posted August 20, 2015

Lawmakers use a giant pair of scissors to cut up a mock credit card, symbolizing the payoff of $2.75 billion borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment claims.

— The House passed a package of changes to the state's unemployment insurance laws Thursday after rejecting a change that would have softened requirements for those receiving weekly payments.

Senate Bill 15 will now return to the Senate after an 83-27 vote with one of its most controversial features intact.

As it is currently drafted, the bill would raise the number of times an unemployed worker would have to contact a potential employers from two per week to five per week in order to keep receiving benefits.

"We're going to have a problem 'round about December if we don't change it to three," said Rep. Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe, as he offered an amendment Thursday.

Employers, he said, would be flooded with applications from people who were unqualified or otherwise unable to take their positions but needed to meet their weekly quota.

Jordan argued that those receiving unemployment were free to decide to make more "job contacts," but raising the number to five was out of line with 44 other states, which all require three. He also said that prior changes that reduced the number of weeks that someone can receive unemployment help and reduced the value of those payments would do more to push people toward work than raising the job contact quota.

Others argued the five-contact requirement was punitive, which drew a sharp response from backers of the bill.

"I don't think (the subject of) this amendment has anything to do with punishing anybody," Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg, said. "I think it has to do with trying to encourage them."

Other members of the House argued that changing the bill at this point would endanger it because top senators had already signed off on the measure as is.

Lawmakers hope their session is coming to a close and often find themselves unwilling to renegotiate what they believed to be settled issues.

"The idea (that) the Senate will reject it because a little tiny part of it was changed slightly defies the imagination," Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, said.

However, only 11 Republicans and 38 Democrats out of the 120-member chamber voted to scale back the job contact figure. Senators are expected to take a final vote next week on whether to send the measure to the governor.


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  • William James Aug 24, 2015
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    SCAM ALERT; they ask people to apply for 5 jobs a week, when they already know most counties only have 1-2 openings for a persons selected occupation each month at max, many jobs are under paid or temp, and many employers don't accept applications unless there is an opening, thus UI recipients are forced to either lie on the forms or just randomly apply for jobs out of their driving area they know they won't get. If they lie, which is most people do, because its silly to apply for jobs 5 counties away when you have a house and spouse, the ESC will either dock or deny you UI check! Great SCAM NC, its good to know all the crooks aren't just on wall street, we grow our own here in NC. Lets pass Bill 661, those in the Senate that can't run a 5min mile don't get paid, this will save the tax payers millions each year and who would even notice?

  • Ty Rammstein Aug 23, 2015
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    a while back when the economy was string lawmakers were lobbied to lower the amount employers paid into unemployment insurance and they got what they demanded. when the economy tanked the amount of money in the unemployment fund was not enough to keep pace with demand. rather than raise the rate employers paid back to devious levels. the GOP controlled legislature decided to punish folks who , in spite of honest and good efforts to find work, could not. of course the language they used was all about common sense and motivation but if there are no jobs there are no jobs.no matter..they workers are lazy and not motivated enough and it is the GOP's job to be punitive. god forbid the polyesters had to share the burden..they now have so many applying for a job they can keep wages and benefits low and make bigger contribution to the bois in Raleigh who are making them richer.

  • Ken Ackerman Aug 23, 2015
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    Just when I think these mean spirited, evil people can't stoop any lower they prove me wrong.

    View quoted thread

    So, let me see if I understand this correctly. I went to college, got two degrees, worked hard for 33 years then decided I wanted to give all that up so I can sit at home for 13 weeks at $300/week? I'm so glad to learn that it was my choice and that I'm just lazy and no good.

  • Jennifer Hernandez Aug 22, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    FYI, Unemployment insurance tax is a tax on employer payrolls paid by employers from which unemployment benefits are paid to qualified unemployed workers. Unemployment tax is not deducted from employee wages. It has nothing to do with Welfare, and believe me from personal experience anyone who is a recipient of Unemployment Insurance would much rather be working. Most of them are not "slackers" by any means, and they "contributed to society" until it was their employers that got over extended and couldn't afford to keep them. Before you criticize or make generalizations about people in circumstances beyond their control, why don't you walk a mile in their shoes.

  • Charlie Watkins Aug 22, 2015
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    This will cut down on beer drinking on the front porch and will hurt the economy.

  • Shane Taylor Aug 22, 2015
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    Finally, get these slackers off of my tax funded welfare and be a contributing member of society!!!!

  • George Herbert Aug 21, 2015
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    My employer already gets too many job applications from unqualified people. I can imagine how many more we'll get if this passes into law.

  • Raleigh Rose Aug 21, 2015
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    This has been put forth and championed by those who have clearly never been unemployed in any type of professional/skilled job. There are a large number of industries where you won't be able to find 5 unique positions to apply for per week. It really looks like they are trying to punish people out of work, by making it more difficult for them to get unemployment help because there aren't enough jobs for them to apply for.

  • Chris Hall Aug 21, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    No matter which option you pick (stay unemployed or work for two jobs for slave wages) you are told you created the situation by your lack of ‘work hard’ and be blamed for being part of the ‘47 percent.’

  • Matt Wood Aug 21, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Oh, didn't you know? If you're skilled but can't find a job, then you're supposed to "pull yourself up" by working 2 fast food jobs at minimum wage. Oh, and that wage isn't a living wage because only teenagers and UNSKILLED people work fast food, RIGHT?!