Arrow-right Camera

Eye On Boise

Thu., March 22, 2012, 11:06 a.m.

House narrowly passes unemployment fraud bill, after much debate

The House bogged down today in an extended debate over SB 1369, a Department of Labor bill that passed the Senate unanimously and that would save the state $5 million in unemployment fraud, before finally barely passing the bill on a 36-34 vote. (Note: This later changed - see posts above...) A motion from Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, to send the measure to the amending order failed, 21-49.

The bill would impose a $25 penalty on employers who, after getting a warning, still fail to comply with the law requiring reporting of new hires, allowing those workers to continue fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits. " I think it's big government at its worst, penalizing the people providing the jobs," declared Rep. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls. "Twenty-five dollars is totally unreasonable. Five dollars is probably too much." Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise, said, "By the simple expedient of complying with the law, your penalty will be zero."

Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, told the House, "It discourages employers from hiring people. It will cause us to have fewer jobs in the state of Idaho. ... I think this makes it more difficult to employ people." Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, the bill's House sponsor, said it cracks down on those who are "double dipping, you might say. It is worthwhile, with a $5 million fiscal note."

The measure, which earlier passed the Senate 34-0, now heads to Gov. Butch Otter's desk.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Eye On Boise
Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: