Plan to reduce unemployment benefits for Missourians headed for House vote

The maximum number of weeks Missourians could claim jobless benefits would be reduced to one of the lowest levels in the nation under a plan advancing in the state Legislature.

In a House committee Tuesday, lawmakers approved legislation that would shorten the length of time laid-off workers could receive payments from 20 weeks to 13 weeks if the state’s jobless rate is below 6 percent.

The current unemployment rate is 3.5 percent.

The plan has been in the works for three years. A 2015 version of the change was found unconstitutional by the Missouri Supreme Court. A similar version was approved in the House last year but was not taken up in the Senate.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, who is sponsoring the measure, has said the plan could save the state money and help businesses by reducing the chances that money to pay the benefits would run low during times of high unemployment.

The measure comes as lawmakers are considering other potential reductions to benefits for the poor and jobless, including cuts to the food stamps program and health insurance.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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