Bill to Cut Unemployment Dies in WV House

Ozzy Gonzalez
Ozzy Gonzalez

  • 11/10/2023
Bill to Cut Unemployment Dies in WV House

Bill to Cut Unemployment Dies in WV House

On March 11th, the West Virginia Legislature adjourned at midnight after their annual 60-day session. 

At the end of the night, the bill to cut unemployment benefits had not been placed on an agenda, and therefore has officially died for the second year in a row. 

SB 59 would have cut unemployment compensation benefits from 26 to 12 weeks as well as tie the benefits to the statewide unemployment rate.

While the Senate passed the bill in both 2022 and 2023, the bill has died in the House of Delegates both times due to not being taken up for consideration. 

While the Senate has made this proposal a priority, it is widely unpopular with many members in the West Virginia House of Delegates. 

One of these members is Delegate Evan Worrell (R-Cabell), Chairman of the Republican Labor Caucus and Chairman of the House Workforce Development Committee, where the bill was referred after passage from the Senate. 

Both Chairman Worrell, and Vice Chairman Charlie Reynolds (R-Marshall), came under fire for refusing to put SB 59 on an agenda. 

However, Worrell and Reynolds stood strong to the end in opposition of the proposal, effectively killing bill.

“SB 59 is an attack on the skilled workers of West Virginia who are laid off through no fault of their own,” said Worrell. “Many colleagues and I were successful in keeping this bill from passing for another year.”

Worrell and others believe a new version of the bill may come back next year due to support from out-of-state organizations. 

The push to cut unemployment benefits is part of a nationwide initiative brought by certain policy think-tank organizations, which bring it to state legislatures for adoption. 

A similar proposal passed last year in Kentucky, after the KY Legislature overrode a veto from Governor Andy Beshear. 

ACT and the West Virginia State Building Trades will continue to work with Worrell and other partners in the House of Delegates to fight this harmful legislation in the future. 

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Bill to Cut Unemployment Dies in WV House.

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