On Friday, the Senate passed legislation dealing with unemployment insurance trying to fix the issue of many Kentuckians being asked to pay back benefits they received by giving the Kentucky Labor Cabinet the ability to waive over-payment of unemployment payments.
After a passionate discussion on the Senate floor, Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, passed with a 35-0 vote.
The legislation waives the clawback of unemployment insurance benefits paid in error during the COVID-19 pandemic and requires allocation of CARES Act money to cover costs.
The bill is in response to claims by Senate Republicans and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting in October that the Administration of Gov. Andy Beshear made an error in the overpayment of benefits early on in the pandemic and proceeded to deem those individuals retroactively ineligible to receive said payments.
Multiple Senate Republicans expressed their frustration with how the Division of Unemployment Insurance has handled the distribution of benefits and backlog of claims on the Senate floor Friday, challenging the office to “answer the phone,” referring to unanswered calls from constituents.
Senate Bill 7 now advances to the House.