The state Legislature’s Economic Affairs Committee yesterday passed a bill that would rebrand unemployment compensation as “reemployment assistance.”

The bill was proposed by the Department of Economic Opportunity that Gov. Rick Scott helped create last year; the agency oversees unemployment payments.

According to the bill’s summary, House Bill 7027 would provide for workforce training to eligible claimats, revise work search requirements for certain claimants, clarify how a disqualification for fraud is imposed, authorize the Unemployment Compensation Proram to noncharge accounts of employers laying off workers as a result of a man-made disaster of national significance, revise the statue of limitations related to the collection of unemployment compensation benefits overpayments and align with federal provisions regarding confidentialy of claimants’ information.

Some concerns among committee members focused on public notification and confusion with the proposed name change.

The AFL-CIO’s Rich Templin suggested that attention should be paid to appropriations to ramp up public outreach efforts. ”What we know is, if we don’t do that [budget for public outreach],  we will see a lot of people falling through the cracks,” Templin said.

The program requires coordination and compliance with the federal unemployment insurance program.

The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, said clearance from the U.S. Department of Labor has been obtained in writing.

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