Wisconsin Assembly to Vote on Limits for Unemployment Aid

on Tuesday. The bills would cut the maximum number of weeks of benefits from 26 to 20 and require people to look for work sooner after being laid off.

MADISON (Wis.) (AP). -- Wisconsin residents will receive fewer unemployment insurance benefits and have stricter qualifications under a set of bills that are scheduled to be voted on by the state Assembly this Tuesday.

The eight Republican-backed initiatives follow an April statewide election where more than three quarters of voters supported the non-binding ballot question that said they believed able-bodied adult should be required to work in order to receive government aid.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed nearly identical legislation in his first term, and it's likely he will do the same this time around if both the Republican-controlled Assembly and Senate pass the measures.

In Wisconsin, unemployment recipients are already required to perform four job-search activities per week. Employers would be able, under the bills to be voted Tuesday, to report those who refuse or do not show up for an interview. If you have been reported more than once and have no good reason for not attending or declining an interview, your benefits could be revoked.

A second measure would be to tie the number weeks a person can receive unemployment benefits with the unemployment rate in the state. If the unemployment rate is below 3%, only 14 weeks would be available. If rates increase above 9% (which hasn't occurred since 2008), the current standard of 26-weeks of benefits will only be applicable.

Other proposals would require stricter checks on identity for those receiving unemployment benefits. They also prohibit local governments using taxpayer funds to create programs that guarantee income. And they would require the Department of Health Services (DHS) to check every six months whether people are eligible to participate in Medicaid programs for low-income individuals, caregivers, and pregnant women.

Many of these bills have been endorsed by major conservative business lobbyists, including the National Federation of Independent Business and Opportunity Solutions Project. Local unions and the League of Women Voters of California are opposed.