Baton Rouge, Louisiana
7 Day Forecast
Follow our weather team on social media

Gov. Landry signs law to reduce unemployment to 20 weeks, takes effect start of next year

3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago Monday, June 17 2024 Jun 17, 2024 June 17, 2024 11:38 AM June 17, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana's already bare unemployment benefits will be further hit when a newly signed law takes effect at the beginning of next year.

As of Jan. 1, unemployed people will only qualify for 20 weeks of government assistance under the new legislation passed by Gov. Jeff Landry and the conservative-majority legislature. The current maximum through the end of the year is 26 weeks.

The average jobless Louisianan gets $250 per week in benefits. This is the second-lowest nationwide, only behind Mississippi's $222 per week average, Michael Leachman, senior vice president for state fiscal policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive Washington, D.C. think tank, told The Advocate.

The new law also reduces the benefits timeline to 12 weeks when the average unemployment rate dips below 5%. As the unemployment rate increases, the timeline increases until 20 weeks.

HB119's author, Rep. Troy Romero, R-Jennings, felt 26 weeks of benefits, was far too generous and hurt the economy more than it helped.

"(The bill) will put people back to work quicker and give employers employees much faster, which will allow them to make investments, pay taxes and all the things that are important to us as a state,” Romero told the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee in April.

Critics feel the law's damage to unemployed people will outweigh the effect six extra weeks of unemployment benefits would have on the state's economy, which currently has an unemployment rate of 4.3%, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.

“This bill is punitive,” Jan Moller, executive director of Invest in Louisiana, a progressive policy group in Baton Rouge, told The Advocate. “The premise behind it is absurd. It presumes that people are voluntarily avoiding work in favor of collecting unemployment benefits, which is ludicrous on its face because the benefits are among the lowest in the country.”

The bill passed the legislature in May and was signed into law in June. The Republican-controlled body also rejected multiple pieces of legislation that would have weakened public employee unions, a departure from the party's pro-business position. Still, Republican legislators rejected Democrat's attempts to raise the minimum wage from $7.25.

More News

Desktop News

Click to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
7 Days