The state legislature has been pushing a host of unemployment reforms that actually make unemployment worse or provide little more than a talking point. See, e.g., Replacing unemployment with reemployment or Carrots or Sticks? Lawmakers can’t agree on how to help employers who can’t fill jobs.
The things that might make unemployment better, however, were almost universally ignored. Thanks to the Legislative Reference Bureau and its legislative tracking services, here are most of the bills that have now “died” in this legislative session.
- AJR149 and AJR24: Relating to: declaration of an Economic Justice Bill of Rights.
- SB547 and AB542: Relating to: eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits in the case of an unwillingness to receive a vaccine. See also No vaccine unemployment bill introduced for issues much more pressing than vaccine refusals.
- AB1128 and SB1053: Relating to: new enforcement mechanisms and penalties for misclassifcation of employees as independent contractors.
- AB294: Relating to: recovery of unemployment insurance benefit over-payments. This legislation would have applied an equity and good conscience standard to determine if a claimant could afford to repay overpaid unemployment benefits.
- AB380: Relating to: mandating the return of job search requirements for unemployment insurance and the suspension of the Department’s emergency job search waiver rule. Unnecessary in light of Job Searches are back.
- AB307: Relating to: unemployment insurance work-share programs. Work share was one of the few unemployment programs that Wisconsin did relatively well, and so failure to make some of the pandemic-related changes permanent is a major failure.
- AB268 and SB267: Relating to: providing a temporary state tax exemption for unemployment compensation for 2020 and 2021 state income taxes. Because far too many claimants were not paid until 2021 or are still waiting in 2022 for unemployment benefits dating from 2020, this income tax problem is becoming a major headache. The only relief available to claimants is at the federal level and only applies to those paid unemployment benefits in 2020. See Tax matters.
- AB206 and SB224: Relating to: extending waiver of the unemployment insurance one-week waiting period to Sept. 5, 2021, to take advantage of federal financing of these benefits for employers.
- SB138: Relating to: extending eligibility for federal extended unemployment benefits in Wisconsin.
- SB140: Relating to: creating a presumption that all initial claims are pandemic-related for the purposes of charging relief so as to provide tax relief for employers.
- SB899: Relating to: various changes proposed by the Department to the unemployment insurance law and making an appropriation. See the discussion of Proposals D21-02 and D21-03 at Department proposals, 2021 edition, and going back to 2019. Note: the rest of the Department’s proposals, contained in AB910, were passed by the legislature. For the questions that remain unanswered regarding these proposals, see D21-01 and D21-04 to D21-08 discussed in Department proposals, 2021 edition, and going back to 2019, a veto of AB910 should be forthcoming. These proposed changes are more “stick” than “carrot.”