Republican legislators in the Florida Senate and House are moving a handful of bills to amend and limit unemployment benefits. In response, Florida New Majority, a progressive statewide civic organization, announced a demonstration Monday at the Miami office of state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, because Trujillo

is supporting a bill [House Bill 7005] in the Florida House that will cut unemployment insurance for jobless Floridians by up to 6 weeks, which will appear before the Finance and Tax Committee this Thursday. Unemployed Floridians, 1.1 million people, are angry about the attacks on the crucial support in these hard times.

Trujillo filed House bill 319 which “provides conditions for claimants to be deemed available for work; requires [the Agency for Workforce Innovation] to notify each claimant regarding requirements that constitute active search for work; provides reporting requirements for claimants; provides conditions for exemption from claimant reporting requirements.”

Senate Bill 562, filed by state Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, was referred to the budget and commerce and tourism committees and shares language with the House bill filed by Trujillo.

The Florida Independent reported last Friday that House bill 7005, filed by state Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, and the Economic and Tourism subcommittee was approved and will now move on to the House Finance and Tax Committee. HB 7005 would shorten unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 — if employment is above 9 percent (it’s currently at 12). The law would also lower companies’ unemployment tax rates and make it easier for employers to prove employee misconduct, “irrespective of whether the misconduct occurs at the workplace or during working hours.”

And state Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, filed Senate Bill 728, which proposes s series of amendments to the state’s unemployment benefits regulations at a time when Florida unemployment is well above the national average.

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