published Monday, May 16th, 2011

Nashville: Bill restoring jobless benefits moves but Haslam’s stance remains unclear

Gov. Haslam
Gov. Haslam

NASHVILLE — Efforts by legislative Democrats to restore federal jobless benefits for thousands of out-of-work Tennesseans cleared its first hurdle in the GOP-run House today.

But Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s position remains murky about the attempt to resurrect state participation in the program, which is largely funded with federal dollars.

"We've had some concerns with this issue, but typically don't comment on bills until we've thoroughly analyzed them," said Haslam spokeswoman Yvette Martinez. "The bill just came out of

[committee] and the governor will review the analysis tomorrow."

Approval of the legislation would extend unemployment benefits for another 20 weeks for more than 28,000 unemployed people whose 26 weeks of state benefits and 53 weeks of federal emergency benefits have expired or will expire.

Late this afternoon, the House Delayed Bills Committee, compromised of Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, unanimously gave the go-ahead for Fitzhugh to move ahead with the late-filed bill.

But it faces an uncertain reception in other GOP-run House committees as well as the Senate, where Republicans also have a majority.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris said today that state Employment Security Administrator Don Ingram last week “made it very clear that the administration's position at least had been that they didn't intend to pursue it.”

“That's why I'm asking for more specific information, exactly what the position is,” Norris said.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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esaletnik said...

Federally funded unemployment benefits were extended last December as a compromise to Republicans for the extensions of the Bush tax cuts. Now the Republicans have found a loophole to keep people from getting their benefits while they continue to enjoy their tax cuts for the next year and a half.

May 17, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
mistycat said...

Seems it is a bad time to be a Tennessean'American. Whoever dropped the ball, didn't understand the law, or is just making up their own agenda, Tennessee is one of the few states who took this measure. As reported, Twenty Four other states, including Georgia got on the ball and continued the Unemployment Benefits for their "American" citizens. Therefore, Tennessean'Americans do not have the same rights as other Americans. What is a right for one American, should be a right for ALL. Get off your cans and make things right Haslam and company!!

May 18, 2011 at 6:12 p.m.
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