Legislature(2001 - 2002)

2001-01-12 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2001-01-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0063
SB 30                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 30 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                    
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
              "An Act relating to the calculation and payment of                                   
              unemployment compensation benefits; and providing                                    
          for an effective date."                                                                   

2001-01-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0064
was read the first time and referred to the Labor and Commerce, State                               
Affairs and Finance Committees.                                                                     
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, Department of Administration                                                    
 Fiscal Note No. 2, zero, Department of Labor and Work Force                                        
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 12:                                                     
Dear President Halford:                                                                             
Alaska's economy includes many seasonal industries with employees                                   
who rely on their unemployment benefits to fill the gaps between                                    
times of work. The current rate of unemployment insurance payments                                  
falls woefully short in helping families cover living expenses.                                     
Alaska's unemployment insurance provides the lowest percentage of                                   
the state's average weekly wage of any state. Our maximum weekly                                    
benefit amount of $248 ranks 50 of the 50 states.                                                   
To correct this inadequacy, I am transmitting this bill to increase                                 
unemployment insurance benefits and then index the benefits to the                                  
state's average weekly wage, so that future adjustments would be                                    
automatic and synchronized to the state's economy.                                                  
Under this bill, the maximum weekly benefit amount would increase                                   
January 1, 2002, to $284. Those earning $31,250 or more per year                                    
would be eligible for this maximum benefit. A year later, the                                       
maximum weekly benefit amount would be indexed to the average                                       
weekly wage in the state for the preceding fiscal year, set at fifty                                
percent of that wage. Based on current projections, the maximum                                     
weekly benefit amount in 2003 would be $320 for those claimants                                     
who earned $35,500 or more.                                                                         
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
       Tony Knowles