Kentucky Unemployment Task Force final meeting aims to improve state unemployment system

The task force are preparing to give lawmakers recommendations with the goal to make the system better.
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 4:38 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - So many people are frustrated about not getting unemployment benefits. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs during the pandemic.

For months, Kentucky lawmakers have been meeting in a special task force to address the state’s unemployment system.

Tuesday was the final meeting of Kentucky’s Unemployment Task Force. They are preparing to give lawmakers recommendations with the goal to make the system better.

Those recommendations could be used to draw up bills to be considered in next year’s legislative session in Frankfort.

Tuesday’s meeting came as some lawmakers say the recommendations don’t go far enough and some labor officials are concerned changes will ultimately do more harm than help.

One representative pointed out that the report didn’t include the viewpoints from the people who were sitting in the room.

“Probably the biggest concern I have with this report is that and our staff mentioned this is that we can only report on the testimony we heard,” Rep. McKenzie Cantrell (D-Louisville) said. “The biggest thing we’ve heard is we’ve only heard from employers, or groups representing employers or non profits and think tanks that are here for businesses. We did not hear from any unemployed workers, who have tried to navigate this system on their own.”

“I was very open to those discussions anyone who wanted to come forward,” Rep. Russell Webber, (R-Shepherdsville) said. “I would say probably this report, you can approach me we could have had some of those things included in them. I’m not sure it’s the objective. I think maybe it had more to do with political theatrics today, and that’s unfortunate.”

The task force met and heard from various organizations and state workforce and labor officials. A lot of the discussion was over the new system that will take several years to put into use that will replace Kentucky’s outdated unemployment computer system.

Task force leaders said the changes are designed to prevent future problems but do nothing to help those still currently waiting on claims.

Next year’s legislative session starts in January.

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