Yesterday in the Senate Commerce Committee, important action was taken on SB154. SB154 is an act concerning unemployment benefits. The bill would move the unemployment insurance system in Kansas to a “fixed system”. The bill caps the maximum weekly benefit amount at $474, the bill locks this amount in for 3 years until 2017. The bill also states that any future increase in the maximum weekly benefit must be approved by the legislature and the increase in benefit amount must be accompanied by an increase in taxes.
Working Kansas Alliance
It has been a busy last couple week under the dome in the Capitol. Bills have been dropping very quickly as Senators and Representatives try to introduce as many last second bills as they can. There have been many major happenings when it comes to legislation that will affect Kansas’s workers and their families.
Last year the Senate Committee on Commerce ordered the KS Department of Labor to do a study on what the process would be for Kansas to move towards a state approved OSHA system. The study was supposed to find how long it would take, and how much it would cost to implement and operate a state approved OSHA system. The KS Department of Labor study stated, “the Secretary does not recommend proceeding with a state plan at this time based on the expansion of State government and the vast amount of resources that will be required to plan, implement and administer a State plan in Kansas”. It is estimated that the start up costs to run this program would cost at least $3 million. This however is thought to be the minimum. Many states who have moved, and are in the process of moving to a state run OSHA system have seen their costs drastically rise because of the stringent process to get approved. Moving towards a state run OSHA system would not be beneficial for Kansas workers. Not only do many states that have a state ran OSHA system have less experienced staff, and a higher turnover rate, they also run into issues with filling inspection goals and vacant positions.