State Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Bonyton Beach, is making good on the vow he made Tuesday to pressure Gov. Charlie Crist to address a Florida statute snafu that will prevent some unemployed Floridians from receiving recently extended federal unemployment benefits.
Yesterday, Rader sent a letter that included the following paragraphs to the governor, imploring him to act:
Every week, thousands of Floridians are losing the funds necessary for them and their families to survive in this catastrophic recession. You and I share the same concerns about our unemployed workers who have exhausted their eligible weeks of unemployment compensation benefits, and it is our duty to help them.
This could have been avoided. Two months ago, I warned of this very situation. But my amendment during session was denied, and my bill during special session was not heard. Now is our last chance to avert a devastating economic blow to the citizens of Florida.
The amendment I filed to SB 1736 would have extended Florida’s eligibility to receive 100-percent federal funding for our unemployed workers compensation benefits at no additional cost to our small business owners. Yesterday, I filed similar legislation (HB 55C) that, again, would be 100-percent federally funded, at no cost to our businesses and would allow for immediate assistance to Florida’s families and economy.
I implore you to take action on this issue immediately. Either call another special session to consider my bill amending state law for unemployment eligibility or, if possible, issue an executive order to allow long-term unemployed Floridians to participate in the federal extension of benefits once approved by Congress.
A call to Gov. Crist’s office seeking comment on the matter was not returned as of press time.